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At the trail intersection the sign reads: "0.3km Boardwalk To Lake Lookout." This is an unexpected treat. With water sloshing in my knapsack, thick socks under hiking boots, we hang right and take the detour. Two parallel planks resting on logs, one following another. I’m grateful to whomever carried these wide planks several kilometers up the narrow rocky mountain path because I really don’t feel like doing that, today or ever. I have spent much of my climb grappling with my friend’s intractable romantic situation. She did not ask me to solve anything, but round and round it goes. A half hour on the mountain was entirely lost. Admit; it was longer than that. The lake stretches wide left and right, narrow across. It is unblemished, silent, lapping, numbingly cold, surrounded by rounded peaks, some with remnants of snow. At the edge of the lake there are, tiny gnarly knee height cedars growing right in the water, the triumph of a dozen or more short growing season. A mountaintop lake is a profound gift. I decide that I don’t want tenants that don’t pay in my brain. A brain should be a nice blank space. That way you can enjoy putting your hands in warm soapy water and savour washing the dishes slowly. That way you actually notice that you are climbing a mountain. Imagining my brain like a clear calendar, a bed neatly made, a blank canvas, I suddenly have a more friendly response to that internal space. Wind rustles the tops of the trees, water lapping on the rock I find to eat squat and eat my pita sandwich. Further up the trail a teenage moose hungrily wraps her mouth around juniper, her lips dexterous, both of us ignorant of our imminent encounter.

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