Narrator Mashkawaji lies frozen in the ice finding freedom in isolated suspension. They introduce us to the seven primary characters: Akiwenzii, the old man who represents the narrator's will; Ninaatig, the maple tree who represents their lungs; Mindimooyenh, the old woman who represents their conscience; Sabe, the giant who represents their marrow; Adik, the caribou who represents their nervous system; Asin, the human who represents their eyes and ears; and Lucy, the human who represents their brain. Each attempts to connect with the unnatural urban-settler world. And each looks for the natural world, only to find those pockets that still remain are owned, contained, counted, and consumed. Cut off from nature, the characters are cut off from their natural selves.