The air is clear blue and cold above Mendenhall Lake when we step into our skis. The sun rose while Aki ran circles around the car: her potty dance. Now, wearing her pink puffy vest, she hunches up as we adjust jackets and gloves before moving toward the glacier. Wind rises with the sun but can’t make up its mind as to direction. Our eyes water and a large tear, the size of a raindrop, freezes on my human partner’s cheek. I ignore the metaphor, watch a streak of sunshine move down the glacial ice, consider whether great natural beauty can really stimulate tears, think, “nah,” and ski on.
We take advantage of the uniform snow surface on the lake to make a beeline toward the lake’s sunny side. I stop to photograph a fracture line in the ice that runs almost to the glacier. Here is another metaphor but I am too cold to care. The wind now blows hard off the Juneau Ice Fields. It streams loose snow off the Mendenhall Towers and sends white spindrifts around my legs and over the grooved trail. We fly, without effort back toward Skater’s Cabin, where we started. Another metaphor with options: Glacial wind scouring away the rift raft or returning the speed of youth.