posts tagged with 'skating'

first ice day

Looking at the forecast last week I was already starting to get excited about the last Park Day of the calendar year. It was going to be the fourth straight day of below freezing temperatures! There would be ice again! In preparation Leah even took Zion out to get new skates, since the ones he was using last year bit the dust just as winter turned into spring. As it happened it wasn't a perfect day—the weather warmed up ahead of schedule, and lots of people were away so there were just a handful of us there—but it was still delightful to get out on real ice for the first time this winter.

Zion, Elijah, and a friend trying out the ice on Freeman Lake

it'll bear

Well, real-ish... a hole somebody had smashed showed that it was only a little over two inches thick, which while strong enough to hold all of us isn't enough to make me feel like crossing the whole pond or anything. And there were all kinds of bumps near the shore, which is where I felt safer, so the skating wasn't the best. I didn't even get my skates on, actually, though Zion and Elijah had some good attempts. It's hard because we were doing so well last winter and we wanted to pick up right where we left off, but the ice wasn't quite ready for us. And even worse, today was the first day of a crazy warm snap so all the ice that's formed so far is going to melt before next week! I only hope it gets cold sometime this winter, because ice is my absolute favorite.



I didn't expect much of the ice at Park Day this afternoon, with the warm weather and then snow since last time we were there. I knew it'd be safe, for sure—it was so thick it'll take weeks to break up—but I certainly didn't anticipate any skating. Well, I was happy to be surprised when there was not only skating, but para-skating!

the boys on skates being pulled by a parachute

the best thing ever!

It took me a long time to get my skates on. First we sledded for a while, until we wore out the tiny bit of snow left on the hill. Then some kids recruited me to walk across the pond with them. We've never done it before, and it seemed like the last chance, so fine (I stamped a 25-foot-wide dog cartoon into the snow in the middle, which I hope some pilots enjoy). Then even after a few kids showed that you could skate even with the inch or so of snow on the ice surface I thought I could still do without. But when that parachute came out and proved, in the strong gusty wind, that it could really move folks across the ice I had to get in on the action!

Sailing is my favorite thing that I never get to do, and this definitely scratched a sailing itch. The best way was to have two people each grab a side of the parachute and, with one hand up and the other down, stretch it to catch the wind. It was exhilarating to skim over the ice, and we hardly crashed at all! I don't know that I'll ever get to para-skate again, but it was very satisfying to add something to my bucket list and cross it off, all in the same hour.

the para-skaters getting ready out on the ice

readying for another run


skating joy and pain

Since we're doing this skating thing, we thought it would be worthwhile to maybe get our skates sharpened. Me and Harvey at least; the littler boys' are in fine shape, and I wouldn't want to mess with their technique in any case. There's a skate shop by Leah's chiropractor, so she brought them in yesterday afternoon before her appointment. Then with a free half hour or so before dinner I thought it would be a shame not to try them out on Fawn Lake—maybe the last chance I would have before the big snow! So I did. It was fun, and the sharpness helped a bit, but oh my goodness did my feet hurt. I'm a little out of skating shape; I guess taking 15 years off and then skating every other day for a week and half isn't really the way to do it! My hand-me-down skates from the 90s (80s?) don't really fit 100% either. Of course, being able to enjoy ice the way it's meant to be experienced it has been pure joy, but I'm also glad it's going to snow this weekend: my feet need a break!

ice skates sitting on the ice

don't they look sharp

more skating

As part of our bedtime routine I ask each of the boys what was their favorite thing about the day, and last night Zion said that his was skating. And, in fact, that it would be skating every time we were able to go. We went again yesterday, back to Fawn Lake, and with Harvey this time. On Sunday the pond was bumpy and busy with lots of other skaters; yesterday, after Monday morning's rain, it was empty, and smooth and mottled with frozen puddles that reflected the trees and sky like glass.

Zion skating on what looks like a puddle on Fawn Lake

mirror ice

Or like water: we thought they were water when we arrived, and were worried about getting soaked when we inevitably fell. No, it was easily below freezing and that was all beautiful ice. The only water was at the edge of the pond, which made getting out on to the ice a little tricky, but once we were there it was smooth sailing. Zion and Elijah picked up right where they left off and made great progress (though Elijah didn't fall any less and Zion actually fell more—that's because were going much faster and trying harder things). Harvey tends to be cautious but he worked hard at getting moving and actually learned faster than his brothers had yesterday. Nobody was gliding smoothly around the pond—nobody but me, that is—but the younger boys were definitely able to get where they wanted to go and Harvey was moving forward with ever-increasing confidence. We all kept at it until we just about couldn't stand up on the skates any more, which is a sign of a good outing.

the boys all skating on Fawn Lake

nothing but blue skies

Combined with our walk to the library in the morning the skating netted us three hours outside on the day, which isn't bad. If it's not going to snow, I'm sure glad we're skating to give us something else to do with the winter!

Zion smiling with his cheek lying on the ice

we love ice!


ice the way it's meant to be experienced

I know I talked about our ice expertise the other day, but I should probably have noted that it was not complete, because the boys had never actually been ice skating. Well, almost never—there had been a few attempts, including one birthday party, when Harvey was seven or eight, but they were not successful. Skating wasn't at all Harvey's thing at the time, and his distress put Zion off the sport completely (Lijah was too young to even know what was going on). But yesterday afternoon we started to remedy that oversight.

Zion and Elijah skating on Fawn Lake

look at them go!

Zion and Elijah have been asking about skating since last Wednesday, when Zion's best friend brought his skates and demonstrated some skill on the pond. On Saturday we spent a delightful (and extraordinarily cold) hour on the frozen Old Reservoir, and while sliding and biking (!) on the that ice was plenty of satisfying fun, they wondered still more about how much better it would be with metal blades on their feet. So yesterday after we spent the first 45 minutes of our budgeted outside time on some farm work—improvements to the chicken coop—I dug up the bag of skates to see what we could do.

Not too badly, as it turns out! The skates Harvey wore last time we tried this now fit Elijah, and Zion found that he was able to use Leah's. We have two pairs my size—which means Harvey's size too—so all of us boys would have been accommodated, but after reflection Harvey decided he'd rather take a walk with a friend. Also great! So the younger boys and I set off for Fawn Lake, which is maybe not as exciting and private as the Old Reservoir but a little more accessible by car, carrying skates.

Because energy and attitude is all, both boys did amazing on their first attempts. Different styles—Lijah threw himself into it and fell down oh so many times, while Zion was more cautious and mostly stayed upright—but both of them made great progress. After the initial learning steps we made it more than half way across the pond before they started to look tired and I told them, over protests, that we had to turn back.

Our feet and ankles hurt and Elijah's backside was pretty wet, but enthusiasm for future skating outings was high as we made our way back to the car. Going to bed last night Lijah asked if we were going skating again today; when I told him the weather didn't look the best he said that, in that case, we should have stayed longer our first time. I've promised them lots more chances... I just hope the ice holds out!

Zion and Elijah far away on the ice at dusk

can you see them way off in the distance?