Lake Ontario, USA - Philip Monte Verde | Great Lakes Guide
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Lake Ontario, USA

Philip Monte Verde

My Watermark is Lake Ontario.

There is a certain calm flow on the shores of Lake Ontario in January. In a mild winter, blocks of snow and ice rest on the water a few feet thick, warm enough that each ice flow serves as individual islands. The kind of blocks the nature documentaries will show polar bears struggling on, to pull at your heartstrings.

In the summer here at Webster Park, waves crash intimidatingly against the shore. Under the July sun, the great lake makes its power obvious. In January the peace the lake portrays is dishonest. Standing still, ears open, one can hear occasional low groans. These short gasps poke at the reptile brain. Unfamiliar, they provoke the fight or flight instinct, and although your brain knows you are standing on merely an inch of snow with pebbled beach below, your gut warns you that an earthquake like fissure is about to split open, sending you shooting with concrete feet to the icy depths.

But that moment passes, and everything inside and out is silent again. You stare at those ice flows. Out in the world, terrorists strike out at random, day traders buy and sell, and relationships begin and end. Life seems chaotic and random. Every snowflake and every thumbprint is different, and it's hard to find your sea legs. That's why it is with great relief that you notice something curious about the ice flows in front of you. Singling one out in particular, you notice that it rises up a few inches to its right, brushes softly against a similarly sized neighbour, and returns almost exactly to where it was a second ago. The push does not affect the neighbour, who in is caught in the same up-out-and-back motion.

The changes in form are imperceptible and irrelevant to you. For today, there is a rhythmic consistency to the ice flow's movement. Solidity; flowing solidity. Tomorrow the forms will be slightly altered, and come spring the entirety of the ice blocks will have scattered into trillions of molecules. But in the moment, at this minute, outside and inside of you, the world is at peace.


Lake Ontario, USA


Lake Ontario

Collected by

Chloe Cross

Contributed by

Philip Monte Verde

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