Ice Moon

Last Friday was the night of the Ice Moon.

It seemed like the drive was endless.  The snow was still deep in the city, and past the highway the moon was rising — swollen and glowing orange behind the trees.  It was hard to take my eyes off of it, but I had to watch the road.

Hours passed with quiet music and pleasant conversation.  The roads were clear, even along the icy shores of the great lake, churning under the moonlight.

About four hours after dusk we made our turn into the woods.  The road was suddenly invisible under the packed snow, and traction was more of a hope than a certainty.  We were lucky — the bridge was still in place over the rushing creek even after the heavy melt of the past week.

We crossed the bridge, and as we eased onto the right fork back towards our lot, we discovered that the road, in this neck of the woods, had turned to solid ice.  We made it over one slight hill only to stall on the next and slide back down.  As we contemplated our best plan of action, a visiting neighbor drove past on the left fork, didn’t quite make it, lost control, slid out into a spin and planted firmly in a snow bank.

It was time to seek some help.

Luckily, my partner and his friend had arrived safely at the cabin just ahead of us, since they were driving a four-wheel vehicle that tackled these frozen slopes with ease.  With no reliable cell phone service this far north, we had few options.  The cabin was about a mile deeper into the woods.  I set out on foot.  Alone.

I was grateful for the full Ice Moon — without her I would have been lost in the darkness.  Instead, my path was bright and blue and sparkling with cold.  The ice barely made a sound under my pounding feet.  But in the woods to my right, the pack was howling its welcome.  Their eerie song echoed in the hollow air, widening the empty space around me.  Despite my frozen legs, aching lungs, and the prospect of the labor waiting for my return, I couldn’t help but look toward the wild and mournful sounds, toward the moon, and smile.



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