Cracked Ice

I walked through my favorite and closest park today for a good bit of the afternoon. I was drawn to the liminal, emerging spaces by the marshes and streams and rivers that cracked through the park like a partially-split log.

I saw trees with tiny, fetal buds on them, still brown and cold but ever greening. The waterways were graduated from frozen to flowing. More than once I stepped through wet snow and into thawed mud beneath. I nearly slipped into the nearly-frozen, nearly-thawed water above when the wet-mud bank gave way beneath frozen leaves. I yelped. I tried to cover it up as a strange laugh, which seemed necessary to do in case the three deer that stood, staring and stamping at my passing, heard me and wondered. Wondered what? Whatever deer wonder. My noise echoed once back at me. 

I know that in weeks I'll look up and realize that the majority of trees around me will have popped, small green flecks of leaves blurring the graphite-exact lines of their bare branches. 

What happens in between? Ruptures of life, loud crunches through snow and into wet mud, inappropriately-placed laughs, cracking ice echoing across a pond, or a fallen branch, clipped by warm wind, push and pound against the slow thaw.