Sunday, December 26, 2010
Skating Ahead of the Storm
Four of us met up on a shallow swamp in a nearby town for an hour of winter exploration. I have to admit there wasn't one accessible thing about getting to the edge of the pond off trail. No one had been to this wild spot even to walk recently, let alone ice skate. Hopping from one tussock of grass to another, my foot plunged through thinner ice along the edge where the sun shines the strongest. Once on the pond, the ice was plenty thick. Still I felt tentative, walking gradually around to be sure it was really safe in the deeper areas. Skating on a wild pond offers the thrill of living a little more dangerously. Of particular concern was the undulating surface among the trees and around rocks where the water had frozen in expansive bowed up and down curvatures like ocean swells. I hadn't encountered anything but a flat surface skating on ponds before. Yet everywhere the ice was well frozen, even around a beaver lodge.
This pocket adventure ended way too early, as we were all heading to the same evening gathering. With a nor'easter two days off, we knew the window on wild pond skating was closing fast. I woke up early this morning and walked down to a tiny pond not far from our house to see what kind of skating I could manage while snow clouds approached and flurries began to fall. This tiny pond had reasonably level ground to the ice and could have been accessed by someone in a wheelchair, though not another soul was around. It also had open water at one end, but thick enough ice elsewhere, and soon I was having my twirl in beauty. Despite numerous imperfections on the surface with embedded sticks and leaves, it was possible to glide with ease. Sometimes, you just gotta take advantage of such rarified moments to nourish your soul.