The snow this weekend blanketed the forest, but the sun beat down winter by Sunday. The lake had just started to freeze, creeping slowly, methodically through the water in the bays. A film of ice began to reach out into the deep center of the lake as the weekend and the cold continued, but by Sunday the sun had returned, the temperature had risen, and the ice was once again beaten back. The sun-flecked lake beat against the ice, rhythmically, patiently dismantling the millions of ice crystals that had crept across the shallow waters, easy prey.
We took the snowmobile for its inaugural run, but we could feel the gravel creeping up from beneath the shallow layer of snow beneath the sharp, fierce treads of the sled. There was a kind of tension in the air, in the water, and in the earth -- between snow and sun, the border of fall and winter. The forest was in transition, damp and murky and unsure. The loons were nowhere to be seen or heard as the sun defrosted the little bit of winter that had just started to get its confidence back after three seasons in hibernation. You could feel a little of its excitement and the townspeople almost wanted to cheer it on and welcome it back with mittened hands and down sheathed arms.