Monday, January 28, 2008
The winter can be brutal and unpredictable. It comes with freezing cold winds or snow that is only welcome when you are home safe and warm and not trying to get somewhere. But sometimes, amongst the bitter cold, you get a treat. It happened this week. The temperature was consistently around 20 degrees every day. I knew it would happen and it did. The lake froze to a perfectly smooth surface and it was ice skating time. I didn't have to go, I knew it was frozen. I recalled those times and wondered if the kids remember any of those days as fondly as I do now. The freezing of the lake for ice skating is like a lunar eclipse - a feat of nature. It doesn't happen every year but when it does, it is the best time winter can offer. Skating on perfect, clear ice without the restriction of going round and round as in a rink, well, there is nothing like it. I think it was my son Anthony who got us interested in skating. The year he was 8 years old, we all got ice skates for Christmas - including me. Me, who was and still is athletically challenged, can't ride a bike or swim, and hates to be cold. So in my 40s, I decide to ice skate. I think something hit me while watching the winter Olympics one year and Oksana Baiul. It just looked so graceful to be sliding on ice. Anthony went on to play ice hockey for the high school team for 4 years. Last year, I took a group of kids to the ice rink in Bear Mountain. Thomas skated rings around the other kids. I also got on skates - very wobbly at first but then I got the beat and skated away. It was good, but not as great as the lake. My skating is intimidated by my fear of falling. I am older and feel if I fall, my recovery will be too long to stand. I now watch with envy and remember. This Saturday, Anthony went out around 4 pm. A few minutes later, he called. "Hey mom", he said, "Guess what, the lake is frozen over and there are people out there skating. I'm thinking I'm going skating tomorrow". He had such enthusiasm in his voice. It was great. I think it would be safer if I lived a little through his enjoyment.