Toeing the Line
At dusk, I walked along the frozen-lipped edge of Green Lake, it’s shore a mere two hundred feet from my cabin. There, wintering shrubs poked through the snow, each thin-tipped stalk aiming skyward as if to slice through the clouds and into the last hints of heat. Anything to cut the cold.
Further along the lake’s edge I saw a man silhouetted by the sun’s last light, a pair of snowshoes slung across his back. In one breathtaking leap he crossed the boundary between land and water, jumping with total faith onto the ice. He took long strides, gaining speed as he went, and within a short while he arrived at the village of shanties huddled atop the frozen lake.
I saw him raise his fist to knock on one of the doors and imagined going inside with him. There, a few friends huddled around a small stove. There, three buckets doubling as fish caches and shanty seats. There, a blue and white enameled teapot hissing quietly. For supper there would be walleye, its olive-gold scales swiftly sliced through to the bone.
I walked and walked, tracing the line between land and water with the toes of my boots. I felt two worlds sandwich around me, living ice to the southwest and slumbering forest to the northeast. What lies between life and death? What line is this that keeps me walking into the sunset, each spectacular color sweet enough to be the last thing I ever see.