The Lightning Within the Ice

I remember the children. I remember their sad faces, and fingers poking through a wall of wire fencing that their bodies were tightly pressed against. They had to wait their turn as the whites were first permitted to enter the park. I recall standing still between two pools and looking at those being held back. All around me was laughter, people swimming, children playing and running, the splash of a child jumping into the water. And behind a fence was silence and humiliation. It was upsetting to me. I stood there feeling not a part of the sounds and motions. I didn’t understand why we were being separated. I was very young.

The sky is gray. Rain is coming. In the morning I take a walk before the showers arrive. The eagles are still here. One glides high above and flies across the frozen lake. I follow it with my eyes for as long as I can. At one end of the lake, the ice is strikingly divided between light and dark by a jagged streak of white as if a lightning bolt was somehow rendered suspended in time. I stop before this illusion and a memory returns. I remember the children. I remember their sad faces. I hope this past will never be repeated; a day when I was a boy.