Jasper’s Island (and the power of a still mind)

Alex Mathers
2 min readJun 21, 2024

He lived alone on an island in a lake.

His yellow cabin a cuboid anomaly in a sprawling flat plane of white.

The lake had frozen over, and all signs showed winter was deepening.

He was detached in every sense, with the boats not returning now for several months. Ribbons of half-frozen jerky hung in his outdoor larder, and he had firewood to last months.

Jasper’s memory of city life appeared less frequently, fragmented like an incomplete jigsaw.

He scratched his beard, peering out the window towards the gloomy, empty expanse.

The smell of pine and smoke he always loved now seemed stifling. The wooden walls felt crushing.

He’d had moments like these before, but only in brief pangs. This seemed to crawl deeper. He sighed and rubbed the area around his sternum.

Boredom? Loneliness? Was he depressed?

He slept the rest of the day, warmed by this afternoon’s embers and hot stones.

The next day, he sat reflecting after breakfast, circling thumbs.

Then he spotted a Harp seal out on the lake. It was framed perfectly inside the rickety old window square, like a monochrome photo.