Saturday, March 24, 2007


I keep going back to the lake. Walking around it.

Yesterday I sat in my room staring out of the window watching the gulls flap their wings, until they soared away. And after eating something and having a glass of wine I got restless and threw on my coat and stepped out. The lake is still frozen. The day was gray and had rained earlier so everything was wet.

The trees were all sorts of green and their dead leaves matted the forest floor. Whenever I stepped it was quiet. The damp earth masking the sound of my feet. And I wondered whether anyone else was around.

It seems, as I quickly became aware, that the lake is a spot for joggers. They run around it, over and over in repetition. I like looking at their faces. This strong resolution to keep going, and also there are flashes of pain that run along their brows and the underneaths of their eyes are wrinkled from squinting at the sky.

The ground, with all its mud, wasn't much to look at. I walked out onto a dock and saw the pools of water were forming in certain spots on top of the ice, the lake, slowly unfreezing.

What if two men were floating at the bottom. Just glaring at each other, frozen blocks of ice, and as the weather warms up they start to unfreeze. First an arm, then a leg. Parts of their hair swirling back and forth as the underwater waves move them gently about. Just tufts of that hair, free from being frozen. Then slowly one man is free with both arms and begins chipping away at his body. And finally he is free and he drowns the other man. Clasping his gentle hand over the other man’s mouth. After having chipped away just that part of his partner’s face. Both of their metabolisms, faces, hearts, slow and picking up speed. Until one stops completely.

'I'm sorry. But we both knew one of us would get out first. And that would be the end,' the gurgling sounds as he mouthed those expectant singsong phrases out to his once-and-only comrade. And he sighs and closes his eyes, dying. The man tries to escape but realizes that the top shelf hasn't thawed yet. And looking around in terror, struggling with his own life at its end, he snaps his neck back, it goes limp and the water has poured into his lungs and his heart beats one more time until it is covered in water and he floats down gently to meet the other dead man.

So I just kept staring out. And thinking that it was silly but at least exciting. To think about that sort of thing. Inventing that sort of story. Abstract and impossible but I can imagine it so clearly. And I had to blink twice because staring out at the shelf of ice, it crept up on me.

It was moving slowly. Bobbing up and down. The ice was drifting back and forth. The edges must all be free I thought and I kept looking out. And was delighted to see such a thing; I stepped on it at the edge of the dock to feel the sense of the shift. And slightly, it presented itself to me.

I laughed, and if had been in a better mood would have thought about standing here with a crowd of onlookers. We’d make a strange parade. Moving across the ice; like when I was a kid and watched parades on tv. Not a specific one, but just that marching with so many faces. Maybe the joggers would stop and take in deep breaths seeing us move along, bobbing; and then all of a sudden all of us crashing, hearing loud yells, and we fall into the water from cracks and then holes in the ice.

I stepped off a little scared that my foot would break through and I would fall to my death with the two gentlemen of my imagination.

So I walked around. I stopped at a half-dead fire. Some flames still crackling away. I poked it with my toe and looked around. Trying to see if the owner was near. And then picked up the rest of the wood and threw it all on top. Sitting on the picnic bench that was next to it, it was a dark green color. It seemed that moss and fungus had taken over the wood, and it was a soft seat while I watched the whole fire smoke around me. Smelling like pine and rain with the moving ice shelf out beyond. I sat and listened to the Patrick Wolf album and stared at the fire. Soon it lit and my feet got warm. I waited there going through songs and thinking about nothing. Wanting desperately to shut off all my thoughts.

The fire died back down. I felt okay to leave it, not worried that it would catch with the rest of the forest.

There were two other times I stopped to watch the ice shelf move up and down, and back and forth. Shining white surrounded by the tall green pines. The sun was gone so it was dreary and the tips were no longer red. I walked back and returned to my room. Sat in this very chair and read some more and wondered why I kept walking around that lake.



who are you?

i'm the new kid in town.


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