The bottom of the flat used to be a lake. After a long winter when the snows pack hard and the spring sun melts, the water rushes strong down the carve-outs and creeks and refills part of the basin. The nearbys peek out to gather water alongside all the rest, deer, elk, little red foxes, even some bears.
Still is, I suppose, if you define things by what they are. I like to think that it's not about all that, but about what things do. In the days before, the lake was a lake. Snow melted, and it began. People and animals took fish like before. Water gave life indiscriminately. Oppressive heat faded away as people forgot their cares for brief moments.
But then people disappeared. Survivors camped by the lake, pitching hopeful tents while casting fearful eyes toward the horizon, watching and wondering if they'd also be seized by the fever. Yet hints of the past remained. Everyone had these wry smiles plastered up and the men clapped each other hard on the back. Maybe we made it, they said. Here we are. Children laughed and ran along the shore, wondering what the big fuss was all about and why did we have to leave and when can we go back home.
Eventually survivors dwindled, either moving on or passing on. And the lake was abandoned. That's when it stopped being a lake and became just another unseen puddle that ebbed and flooded with the seasons.