Field Notes

Being a record of certain phenomena found in the environs of the Lost Quarter.  

The Lake

Evenings and days off he would go out for drives into the countryside, choosing a road and seeing where it led him. A familiar restlessness drove him, but instead of fleeing he was wandering in place, always with a home to return to. The roads radiating out from the small town he had come to in the cardinal directions became familiar in the same comforting way as the routines of his job. He got to know the hills, the little sloughs surrounded by trees that dotted the fields he passed, and the houses and yards filled with farm equipment and corrals that marked his progression. If his mind wandered and he came back to himself he would quickly know where he was when he spotted the yard with the Canadian and Saskatchewan flags or the hill with the three wooden grain bins painted orange.  

Several times he found himself at the lake, staring at its gleaming water. The first time he followed the southern walking trail that led to the hills that encircled the far end of the water. The lake became a kind of swamp there, the trail ending, filled with hummocks that were impossible to traverse without getting very wet. He tried, just to prove the point, nearly ending up with a broken ankle for his efforts. After that he stayed away from that end of the lake, taking the trail along the north shore the next time. The way there became impassible much earlier, the trail stopping and the ground becoming marshy. There had been thunderstorms seemingly every other day for a week and the ground was very soft. When he stepped out onto it, the mud swallowed his shoe up to his ankle and he had to fight to pull it out.   

It was the fourth time that he ended up on the road heading to the lake that he wondered just what was going on. Did all roads lead here? Clearly not, yet whether he started off going north or south or east, the highways and gravel roads he selected, seemingly by chance, always brought him back to the lake. He wouldn’t even realize it, until he saw the creek running alongside the road and then he was descending into the valley catching that glimpse of glimmering blue water in the sunlight. 


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