The lake is beautiful on a somewhat-warm Tuesday—a glistening coat of ice making its surface totally placid. Ice begins about three inches out from the liquid shoreline. I sit at the end of the dock and place a foot on the surface. It feels thick, but I don’t stand up. Being in ice-water up to my thighs is not on my to-do list today.
We walk around the lake—we haven’t been here since before Christmas. Forsythia branches are covered with buds—a promise of spring. Now only the pachysandra and pines sport a deep green. Grass is yellow-tinted and dotted with tan. Red hawks seem to be flying lower than usual. I’m surprised. Isn’t it easier to spot prey now that the oaks and sycamores have dropped their leaves?
Two mallard ducks swim in a tiny, iceless pool where the shore bells out slightly. At the shallow south end of the lake, where water lilies crowded last summer, the two resident swans swim. A neighbor tells us that they had seven cygnets last summer but he thinks most were grabbed by snapping turtles. Graceful as ever, the parent couple seems perfectly content in the frigid water. I hope to see this year’s nestlings in the summer.