Crinkled and translucent, a thin veneer of ice covers our pond this morning. White frost blankets surrounding grass, undisturbed by any animal track–not even that of a muskrat who usually waddles to the neighboring creek at least once a night (for a reason I have not been able to discern), dragging a long wet tail in his train.

Everyone stays put until late autumn’s wan sunlight softens winter’s advancing edge. Except for me. My solitary foray is, I confess, most unnatural.