It all started innocently enough. Errol wanted to go outside; I joined him. He reveled in the fact that he was walking on the lake, frozen like a giant ice cube. I brushed away the snow with the edge of my boot to reveal the ice beneath. That simple act set forth a cascade of events which culminated in the most wonderful weekend spent in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
Isadora carried out the shovel. Mom and I labored in the crisp clear air; the sun and movement kept us more than warm. Before we knew it, we’d cleared an ice rink. It was good, honest work, the kind that quickens the heart and rewards tired muscles with a visual, tangible sense of accomplishment. But we didn’t have any skates.
How is it that we didn’t yet have any skates? I jetted into town on a mission to right the shortcoming. Hoping to score some thrifted pairs, I settled instead for three pairs fresh out of the box, a bit of an unexpected splurge, but later proven to be worth every penny. We waited for evening to arrive while we gathered candles, began the elaborate dance of donning the woolens, layering, growing six sizes wider to buffet the cold. Then we made our descent down the gentle shoreline hill. The luminaria perimeter that encircled the modest rink served more to alight the spirit than the dark; the full moon, even obscured through cloud cover, lit the night plenty as it bounced off the diamond snow. We skated, some of us quite shaky at first (me) but gaining in skill as the night progressed. We skated for hours.
Leila, that puppy devil, ran off across the frozen bay with my boot, enticing me into a pursuit on skates. I discovered, mostly out of necessity, that gliding through the light blanket of snow that covered the frozen lake was easy and smooth. It is Winter! my skates sang out, my heart pumped in unison. I returned the reclaimed boot to its spot in waiting and grabbed my girl to glide with me across the lake. It was an Owl Moon, we decided, and we headed for the faraway shore to listen for owl calls.
We fell into bed that night, still gliding on ice as we drifted to sleep. And Winter’s only just begun, I smiled to myself. I foresee much more skating to come.