The wind kicks off the lake and bites me in the face. My fingers are aching and curled from the pathological cold. The wind drives the waves hard into the icy berms at the shoreline and flumes of brown water crash into the snow banks forming deepening welds of new ice.
It is dead and barren here. I stand amongst the thin, leafless trees for a while just listening to the big empty all around me.
A great peace consumes me. I look around at the deep drifts of snow covering the benches and tables
and drinking fountains
making this land of summertime merriment an undefinable landscape of quiet waste.
The doors are all boarded shut.
The picnic areas abandoned.
But still, even as the tempest howled and stabbed my exposed skin with a million needle pricks, I could close my eyes and hear them. The ghosts of summer were all around me. The laughing children and the barking dogs. The ignorant frat boys playing pick up games of volleyball with cigarettes dangling precariously from the corners of their mouths. The skinny girls laying on their stomachs with their tops unhitched, foiling their tanlines and pretending it doesn't please them when overweight men walk past them sniggering lude things to one another. The hot smoke of grilled food and the angry shouts as a spill of lemonade creeps across the picnic table spilling thin rivers between the uneven slats where "Mark loves Jessica" has been crudely carved. They are everywhere. Spilling out of the empty lodges, crowding around the boarded up snack bar. Walking on ginger tiptoes across the hot asphalt of a parking lot buried in deep winter drifts.
They'll be back soon enough. And this is what makes me smile.
So will I.