The boys wear shorts and basketball shoes for the afternoon hike.
It is not even April. We've impressed upon them the importance of hats and gloves,
just in case the temperature dips, which - we are certain - it will.
But they barrel out of the car and sprint for the trail-head. We carry water bottles,
oranges, squares of chocolate. They've brought a football, though soon they will ask us
to carry this, too. The lake is thawing. They look for fallen branches to poke holes
in the ice, then climb rocks to look for what, I'm not sure. Fish, maybe. Signs of life.
Instead, Charlie spots a doe, drowned, her leg splintered by a fall or the teeth
of some wild thing. There is blood still, and tufts of fur rise to the surface and drift.
We coalesce, briefly, around her body as sunlight pierces the water, wiping her story clean