On the shores of Icarus Lake

By: Nat Forbes

There is a prayer in theNative tongue that tells
of a lakefar in the dells
in whose depths no life does stir
nor does life linger along its shore
But lo sometimes it seems as tho
the gods on this lake bestow
for within the mists where magic glows
the miracle roosters arise and crows

Staring up at the evening sky grew so lost with in the milky clouds that I didn't realize that my starry eyes was slowly drifting southward along the slightly arching flight path of a flock of snow white geese. They passed silently beneath the clouds, wings flapping steadily homewards.

As they disappeared I sighed stoically and adjusted the straps of my backpack. Deep purple swatchs had began to replace the milky brilliance of the predusk sky. I stomped both feet patiently testing my footing before I continued my treck. Not so far below where I stood the trail parted in a dense thicket, one branch angling towards the high trail that lead back to Camp Icarus , the other smaller deer trail lead down the gentle slope to the alkali lake at the edge of the woods.

From the time ive been coming here on the foothills of the Rockies I had never come across a complete trail to the barren rocky shore.

Icarus Lake was a flat grey expanse , stretching the meager distance between two fall colored hills. The banks were lined with jagged black rocks coated in thick salty scum. Further along the rocky shore a herd of fallow deer milled , licking at the salty rocks.

In the wind stunted trees , squirrels chattered amicably hopping from branch to branch far above. All the life stirring at the edge of this expanse told nothing of the cold glaring glassy surface beneath which no life was known o stir, with the exception of one very rare and beautiful creature.

The Icarus Bird is the life blood of the region surrounding this poisoned waterway. This rare avian is the sole reason that the lake and its harsh surroundings survived urban sprawl, pollution, and any form of human intervention. No matter the disaster natural and man made these brids would appear at the same time once a year and populate the area with their startling calls and spectacular plumage, but most interesting of their behaviors is the tendency that earned them their name.

As I stood, of this crisp fall day staring out over the flat expanse of Icarus lake a strange tension began to draw on me. My breathing became labored, my heart raced then slowed to a frantic pulse. Down the shore line the deer were all on the alert heads staring out over the lake, ears twitching towards some imperceptible sound. The trees and their occupants were stiff with apprehension. The universe was focused on the surface of Icarus lake.

The flat dull color was changing, silently as if it had always been there a vibrant swatch of sunset pink exploded across the surface chased by fiery magentas , blues, oranges ,lavenders.Then finally a deep and all consuming purple shade seeped as if from the very rocks of the shore.

My close cropped hair stood on end beneath the baseball cap nestled over my ears. My knees trembled with fear as the lake boiled with color. I stared with rapt attention as they rose up from the waters surface in misty swirls. Suddenly , with a clatter of hooves on rock the deer took off scrambling up the bank and disappearing into the silent woods. .