A Satisfying Thunk

Aki and I move south along the shore of Mendenhall Lake. At first I stick to the beach, slipping and sliding on pebbles and old snow that has been compacted into ice. More often than not I walk in sunlight. Aki follows a nearby forest path, which offers shade, soft mossy footing, and more interesting smells. Since I left home without a hat I soon have to join her in the woods. 

            White, fragile ice still covers the lake. We head toward the place where the Mendenhall River leaves the lake for its short journey to the sea. On a warm spring day like this, the river current should be keeping at least part of the lake ice-free. We’ve seen ducks and even geese take advantage of the open water. 

            While we head toward the river, two boys ride their bikes past Skater’s Cabin and onto the beach. They assemble a pile of palm-sized rocks at their feet and begin tossing they onto the ice. On landing each rock makes a satisfying “thunk” sound.

            It has always bothered me to see scatterings of rocks on lake ice. They seem to represent a person’s desire to destroy, to shatter. After today, when I see random rocks on lake ice I will be tempted to add to the pile just to hear the thunk. 

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