Walking to Wisconsin


I got up from my desk and walked to Wisconsin.

Wind gusts from the south, across flat white ice. Frozen face.

The dog ranged and roam ahead and to the side.

We crossed three islands, three channels. Quiet courses.

Then we arrived at the main channel, the river itself.

Ice setting down between banks six feet high.

A few blown-over snowmobile tracks.

Little snow, easy walking, we didn’t want to turn around.

White ground and gray tree trunks, a pale sky above.

Nothing else to see except the solitude.

Across the channel, up the other bank, objective reached.

But there through the trees, the vast expanse of Rice Lake.

Walk across the island, past a giant silver maple, stand on the shore.

The delta of a significant tributary spreads out into the valley.

Square miles of grass and water and snow.

A friend’s new place concealed at the foot of that bluff.

A walk for another day, a float for another season.

Turn west again and follow footsteps back through monotony.

Back at the office again, now my brow sweaty.

My heart pumping harder, pushing winter blood.

The dog lays down, chickadees flutter at the feeder.

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