Frozen Lake

At the center of my hometown, on the Canadian prairies, is a lake. Crescent Lake is so named for its shape, but some think it more resembles a correctly aligned horseshoe, where luck never runs out. I lived in that hometown most of my youth, from the early 1970s until the late 1980s; my Dad and sister live there to this day. I have spent many times on the banks of the lake, running, musing, riding my bike. Not a lake one goes swimming in or sups. It is stagnant, has opacity of old tea, and is a little putrid on particularly humid days. But it is beautiful to gaze upon. Most of its bank runs residential—at one end posh homes custom built in the 1970s and at the other end, 1960s bungalows. Giving away to this, now this. Like a river running through the year of the cat. There is a particular lake view I like, and I always stop just there, to take a breather, where it curves fat and fulgent in the summer, snowy and obscure in the winter; either end fading around an indiscernible corner. There was a time when I thought the lake was a complete circle, a ring of water, whose circumference I could not see. Across the bridge was a municipal recreation area, a fairground and golf course and it was all called Island Park—hence my erroneous belief. It was only later in life, when I returned home from away, did I come to discover the water runs aground, in the back, terminating in a fen field of acrid sod and stiff bulrushes.

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