Jan 19 2023

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The Lake on a Grey Day

Posted at 7:27 am under Blog Post

For a change of pace, I drive out to Kill Kare State Park at the end of Hathaway Point to groove on water instead of tramping through woods. Saint Albans Bay is half full of punky ice, but its mouth is ice free. I leave my car at a turnout next to the gate even though the gate is wide open. This will extend my walk. I amble leisurely, hands-in-pocket, up the road and into the park.

I spook several mallard ducks swimming close to shore. There are more waterfowl farther offshore, but they are difficult to identify in the grey light. My binoculars are still resting on the counter back home.

Lake Champlain is placid beneath an overcast sky. In the park, the silhouettes of leafless trees are motionless in the still air, freeze-framed against the clouds. A thin layer of snow covers the ground. Patches of bare ground, bleached of color, poke through the snow in places. It’s a mild winter this year but winter all the same.

I’m alone in the park. Usually there would be ice fisherman here this time of year, going about their business. I meander about, stopping occasionally to take in the lake’s expanse and feel the damp chill in the air. Suddenly gulls call out from ice floes a hundred yards off the north shore. When they stop, I realize just how quiet it is here right now. Interaction with the natural world is funny that way.

This morning I finished writing an essay about the fear of death and the will to live. While walking about the park, I think about that and the many occasions I’ve been in this park in the past, either alone or with others. Time seems to stand still as I gaze across the glassy surface of the lake, but I know that’s not the case. I can hear myself breathing. My heart is still beating. It will beat a while longer, perhaps for another decade or two. And I’ll stand here once again, most likely, gazing across the lake on a grey day.

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