Monday, November 24, 2008
Yesterday my friend, Far Side of Fifty, posted a reminiscent blog called "Magic Ice." I've only experienced ice like this one other time, when I was a teenager visiting a friend on her ranch in Oregon. And that time I didn't know how to skate. Just looking through the ice at the weeds and life carrying on below was thrilling enough, though.
This year our ice is even clearer...so far. It unnerves me a bit to walk level on nothing but water as I watch the ground gradually falling away beneath me. Faith, Lattice, faith... I think I can now relate a lot better to Peter's anxiety as he stepped a few paces away from the boat! ;~)
Our kids have never experienced perfect ice before. Often the wind blows too hard during this season, making the ice build in uneven ridges; or it snows as the water freezes, forming a huge sheet of jagged crystallized bumps littered with hollow pockets in surprising places, all hidden beneath a blanket of white powder. But our kids love to skate, good ice or bad, and for the past month our son has used at least one of his breaks during the school day to run down and check the depth of ice on our small swamp. A week or so ago it reached four inches, which was enough to walk on safely (the more daring were prob'ly driving ATV's on it by then), and as we've been studying the Scandinavian countries and watching Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates, the kids' excitement was at fever pitch and we nearly had a family incident by the time I dug out the skates this past weekend!
The kids were content on the swamp for two days, but then yesterday afternoon I walked to town to do some errands and detoured by the lake on my way home. There were two men on the lake, 30-50 yards out from the shore, removing small boulders that someone had thrown on the ice to check it's strength. Everywhere else the ice was a perfect smooth sheet. I trotted home as quickly as I could, knowing the swamp was never going to seem "enough" after this. No matter--this was not a gift to be left unopened!
Everyone at home was up to their eyeballs in home projects, but I called a 30-minute recess, grabbed skates, camera, and kids, and headed back to the lake for some quick fun and fresh air. By the time we got there, the men were gone and the whole lake was ours. Within two minutes the kids were skating the entire length of our summer beach, stretching their wings and trying new tricks.
"Thanks, Mom! That was THE best skating I've ever been able to do! That ice is perfect! Will you take us again tomorrow, and bring your skates, too?"
...Well, yes, I think maybe I will... And I don't know if we might have inspired anyone who happened to be watching through the windows of their lake home, but like the Gospel, this news is too good to keep to ourselves. We invite you to join us...