Ice is unstable, unpredictable. A sheen of crystal can cause tires to spin out. The surface of a frozen lake can give way.
On a cold Pacific Northwest day, wind chill kicks up a notch and I am reminded of past winters and higher latitudes.
Today the Writer Elkhound’s keen eyes track crows half-flying, half-blown across the gray sky.
I recall the sea ice rolling along the chill shore of Unalakleet. My brother and I scampered up huge slabs of ice that rested on the pebble shore. Those chunks of ice resembled mammoth three dimensional puzzle pieces.
Meeting in Deering
At the junction of Kotzebue Sound and the Inmachuk River
We walk along the curve of cold land,
our legs, hips, hands are like paddles
we traverse a rough shore comprised of frozen
pebbles, tide rumbles under the ice,
the mittens over my hands are like small
we hold onto one another the way
two skiffs in summer, might gently
wind moans under eaves, trapped in
drainpipes too narrow
for the expansive cry,
visual incantations of the Northern Lights
roll over us,
a gym door opens and I hear the basketballs
thunking and tennis shoes squeaking,
we pass a caribou hide
staked out, shimmering with chromatic
the world springs leaks,
time is skin over deep water – and
there in the darkness we share,
are bubbles rising up
to slide along the underside of ice
as polished as slabs of dark glass –
signs of life.