It’s the first time this season I’ve seen them. Four or five figures dressed in black, stooped or sprawled, it looks like, on beach chairs. They group in clusters deep in the middle of the pond. On the ice.
The ice I am warned, is ‘unsafe’.
Over there, another group. And there, another. And another. They have dinghies that slide like sleds over the ice. Their boots have tread as thick as snow tires on the pick ups they drive. The trucks I parked across from wondering ‘who is it that is here today, workers at Walden Pond?’ Big wide heavy looking trucks that took over the vacant space of the car lot.
Their hoods are drawn low over their faces. They hunch, watching the ice between their the big toed boots. Perhaps they mutter. I am hundreds of yards away, on snow, on sand, on earth. Watching. Wondering what it is like to peer through the snow, through the ice, into that world below. That window into another world. That window into the world I enter when the ice melts and the water warms and my body dissolves into Walden.
They cut holes in the ice. They know its thickness, its texture. Its rigidity. They know they walk with safe steps. Even though the sun is shining and today is almost forty degrees. It is a perfect day on the ice. They know.
The ice fishermen have been waiting for February. For late in the winter’s February days when the ice will hold their weight and has the strength to hold its own fractures firm. Open to the caverns below and the heavens above. They have been waiting to fish.
While Boston is waiting to thaw.