The first time I heard the lake moan I didn’t know what I was hearing, I imagined a pack of wolves high on the ridge keening. It sounded at once mournful and foreboding. The 9-year-old me pressing hard against 42-year-old me, was all nerves and excitement, “Is it howling?”
“It’s the lake,” Sean said with a smile. “Isn’t that wild?”
“The lake? The lake is making that sound?”
He nodded and held his hand out to me. We walked out on the porch, “Listen.”
I turned my body and tilted my ear toward the lake. The sound started on the far side of the lake as a kind of warble that bled into a groan which went on for a full minute. I looked out thinking that the sounds would come from visible motion, but all was still.
The trees towered, weak moonlight filtered through casting shadows on the frozen surface of the lake. My eyes tried to track the sounds, but the night swallowed the source, leaving the noise to bounce off the mountain. Sean’s hand touched my back and I felt small. We walked back up to the house as the lake continued its song.
Later as I listened through the tiny windows near the floor of our room the sounds made the distance between our bed and the lake expand and contract.
I am there, out on the lake with my face leaning into the wind, the cold so fierce it feels as if it is splitting my skin open. Tears spring from the corners of my eyes. I can feel the uncertainty in my feet, will the ice hold me? Beneath the blanket Sean gave me, with its purple-grey wool like massive braids, I feel safe, tucked far away from the lake, high up on the hill.
Groans and cracks, splinter the quiet inside and out; the sounds become a part of us, another member of our pack. We all listen, welcoming the layers of awakening from the lake. As winter continues to wane the sounds shifted, their pacing changed from long and drawn out to energetic and almost playful. We follow suit, the tightness of winter loosening and our eagerness to reach movement and light bubble up.
We hold a reverence for the seasons and what each holds, but it is time to move as water, toward light and newness, through shallows and deeps, and into the promise that time moves through death and rebirth.