I am on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and this was my day.
I watched a deer leap and leap and leap down to the beach where the water has formed a frozen shelf that is so large and hilly that it’s impossible to know where the land leaves off and the ice begins. As far as I could see the water is still, even beyond the shelf. The deer walked, listened, trotted, high and low on the ice hills until she disappeared way down the beach.
We followed her trail later, the thin line of hoof prints, each with a sweep forward, like butterfly tracks. There was no describing how beautiful and jewel-like the snow was and how lucky we were to be picking up and putting down our feet and making a trail along the ridge of ice, seeing the deer’s trail and more, the peaks of ice out further in the lake that could only be seen from up high. A person could die and never be that lucky.
Then we went cross-country skiing, the two of us with our son. Looking up ahead at him on the trail, I thought to myself, he still skis really fast. Early on, we met two women on the trail. They chatted, wanted to know our names and our history. I’m not famous anywhere but here I want to be anonymous. I want to ski in the forest with my two people. I want to be in our own bubble where there isn’t much talking and only inside jokes.
Later in the car, my son joked about how when he first met the two women on the trail, ahead of us by several yards, they’d seemed to have trouble making sense of us being his parents, a cross-cultural adoption theme repeated so often in our lives as to be laughable. “It doesn’t make sense to me a lot of the time,” I said.
Like I have since he was a young boy, I wondered what he thought but only for a few seconds. I was glad that when the two women asked him if he was skiing alone that he motioned back to us and said, “No, I’m with my parents.” But not that glad because now I take that for granted.
Anyway, now there’s dinner and a fire. That’s my day.