The tradition marks the new season. Really, we’re so anxious we almost jump the gun on this–but the moose pond by the mailbox isn’t so deep. It’s dark by the time the kids get off the bus, get a snack, tie on their skates. Somehow the darkness and the cracking ice increase the thrill. But pretty soon we fall into silence, with only the sounds of the skates cutting and scraping the black ice, (well, along with the cracking) and we go on and on and on. We can just barely make out the line of the trees in this darkest time of the year.
I think about last spring, when the trumpeter swans were considering nesting here—for 3 weeks or so. And the moose come and go all summer, with unpredictable regularity. For awhile a beaver family lived here, and one quiet evening when Shelby and I stopped our bikes, I think we could hear the kits inside the beaver lodge.
We tried to ignore the creaks, or at least not squeal much. We’re risking thigh high mud, which would be plenty unpleasant, but not like lake ice. We got braver and braver, and ventured further outside our previous tracks, before we finally quit for dinner.
We’re anxious to get on Round Lake, but conditions aren’t actually perfect, and there is still some open water out the Brant Lake way. The shoreline by us has frozen, with some snow. A braver woman would be out there shoveling, but—I’ll give it a few more days!