I stepped confidently onto the snow,
to fall through
into the lake bed below.
Ice water up to my calves.
The snow gave the illusion
that it would support me,
but it didn’t.

Heading toward the end of the dock,
I sat down in the sunny spot
and threw my legs over the edge
to find the water’s illusion –
that there was not three feet of leg room
below the dock as I had imagined.
My feet instantly chilled
by the water’s reality.

As I sat on the edge of the pier,
looking beneath the blue green surface
into the depths below,
I thought I saw several footprints
on the bottom of the lake.
Heel prints and actual barefoot toe prints.
Could this be?
Could these footprints be left over
from the summer before?
Where kids swam and walked below the surface?

I could not imagine it –
that winter’s stormy days and nights
had not erased the tracks
of those who had come before.
Wouldn’t the waves have stirred
below the surface
to cover up the evidence?
It had to be an illusion.

Then I gazed toward the mountain
which reflected perfectly
on the still water below.
It looked like there were two mountains –
one for those living above the surface,
and one for the spirits who lived below.

Again, an illusion
that there was twice as much mountain.
And then I thought about my heart
and how it feels when it’s breaking,
and I wondered if love
might be the ultimate illusion.


Written by Susan at Fallen Leaf Lake, CA
Copyright 1996, All Rights Reserved