Friday, December 8, 2006


Two afternoons ago as I was loading wood for the coming sub-zero night my task was interrupted by the approach of a siren along the narrow twisted road that leads to town. This is a rare thing. In my sixteen years of life at this address I only remember two or three sirens splitting the quiet, and on one occasion I had summoned it. Later that night I heard that two men, locals, had gone through the ice on snowmobiles. That one had been able to crawl from the water, the other could not be reached. He was still alive when the rescue crew arrived, but slipped under before they could pull him from the dark water in the midst of a vast plane of white.

Most of the lakes have been locked in ice for a few weeks. Night time temperatures have consistently been near zero degrees. But the lake they were traveling on is large and deep, always one of the last to freeze. How could they have not known?

Last night I confronted my partner with my knowledge of her indiscretion. Too ashamed to admit that I had hacked into the log of her cell phone calls, I simply stated that I knew, would not divulge the source of my knowledge. We engaged in a long phone fight, like many in the history of our relationship, a dialectic of individual failings, a history of unforgiven transgressions. When all was said and done, the last angry hang-up past I could not sleep. I read late into the night until finally turning off my light at 2:30 in the morning. As I lay waiting for sleep I heard a car with a broken muffler climbing the steep hill before my drive, the engine got louder and I thought I saw a wash of light across my ceiling and then two blasts from a shotgun bringing me wide awake.

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