There must be a better word for the in-between, something more positive than “purgatory” or “bardo.” Whatever it is, we are there now. It is early March, and though the sun is shining and the birds have gotten so noisy they wake us up at dawn, it still is too cold to oblige us to work outside. And so we have another precious day to ourselves.
While Sunday Morning DVRs and the eggplant tagine simmers in the crockpot, we zip up our Carharts and walk to the lake. It, too, is in-between, a great bowl of open water surrounded by ice. The edges are home to a blizzard of Canadian geese and a codgery of coots.The blue sky flashes when the gulls tip their wings and dims when great blue heron lumber by.
Since we are most likely to see a bald eagle or at least an osprey from the east end, we cut across the earthen dam, which is littered with goose poop and eyeless fish carcasses dropped by the gulls. The wind is as sharp as the sun is bright, and the combination has erupted the ice. Fractured plates collide with the shore and then with each other, piling up like shattered windowpanes. We hear it before we see it, that fingernails-on-the-chalkboard scrape softened by the water and wind. It is a full five minutes later when we realize that we haven’t moved.
Such a luxury this is, literally watching the ice melt.