The January thaw has brought unexpected rays of light to warm the thin winter air. The breeze rattles the rushes and heads out over the water. The beach mid season is a dangerous place. We walk along wary of the cliffs that are treacherous and soft melting along with the snow in the thaw. Bulging flows of clay seep through the cracks to pool in thick layers while run off steams in the warming air. A graceful gallery of driftwood, shaped smooth by waves, decorates the sandy path. Face down, one foot turned skyward, a bandit lays still having met its solitary end amongst the snow bleached fish heads and flotsam. The gulls are absent and the waves sing alone. Zebra mussels and mummified gobies crunch underfoot as the beach narrows and we skirt the icy waves. We turn our faces away from the breeze and the sun warms our backs as we head back up the beach.