For the last few days, I’ve been watching the ice as it starts to build on the pond. At first, it was a thin shim of a coating along the shorelines. Then, almost overnight, it took up over half the surface, creating a clearly cut contrast between moving and still water. At this point in time, it assumes a quality that is not unlike the bits of mica I find on the ground when I’m out walking. And it’s not unreasonable to imagine, based on that, a vast piece of the stuff serving as a lid for the water still alive and restless beneath it. From a distance, it appears that the boundary created by the ice’s edge is arbitrary and fixed. But that’s not the case at all, as the open water continues to lap at that jagged edge, reshaping it as the air warms and cools, warms and cools.
In some spots, the shards of ice protrude upward like tiny icebergs, while elsewhere, they join horizontally to form a flat smooth metallic strip that resembles galvanized steel. This catches what sunlight there is and sends it off in all directions, glinting here and there from the rough-cut gems of undedicated ice shards that have not yet been shaped by sun’s heat or settled into a permanent form or pattern. This went on all day until night fell, dropping its curtain on this final act between me and the stage it was all playing out on.
The tension between the two forms that water takes on a pond mirrors that which exists inside the mind of anyone whose mission it is to take raw materials and shape them into something beautiful and lasting. As malleable as these raw materials are, nature always succeeds in achieving some sort of end, regardless of the fact that it, too, is subject to reinterpretation. Writing is a lot like that…taking one group of words that seems to have achieved a solidified state and putting them up against the lapping waves of those that don’t know quite yet just where they’re going or what form they will ultimately take.
The pond is once again liquid today, mirroring the point I am also at as I try to thaw an old story just enough to let it flow along with a new one.