Diary of an Ice Rink

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December 28, 2014 on the ice rink…friends building with snow, skating, sliding, tree-climbing, shovelling.

This “Diary of an Ice Rink” can be read backwards, starting with today and reading down the page until January 1st – the date I started it. Or, if you are not a backwards sort of person, you can scroll down, begin with January 1, and move UP the page. I hope to continue adding entries  now and again until Spring Thaw.

White on White (January 20, 2015)

20150119_083142It is a “misty moisty” day, white on white, edges blurred and soft. We marvel at the marks our blades make on the freshly fallen snow.

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January 19, 2015

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Shane is at the far left sailing with his jacket out in the balmy wind. Jessie, Missy, Marina and Gatty are riding home. Just before sunset.

 

The weather has become milder bringing more skaters and snow fort builders to the ice rink. Here are some pictures from the last two weekends.

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Chilly day but the ice is beautiful!

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It's warm enough to begin uncovering the serpentine paths and circles again.

It’s warm enough to begin uncovering the serpentine paths and circles again.

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MaryLou's first skate

MaryLou’s first skate

Max is building a stegosaurus

Max is building a stegosaurus

Debra and the boys shovelling hard

Debra and the boys shovelling hard

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Tea time

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Galaxies Above, Galaxies Below (January 14, 2015)

The wind has been still these past few days making for wonderful skating. I begin to regain the rhythm of skating, the joy of swaying from one side to the other, the pleasure of gliding. Yesterday, Shane and I skated arm in arm…right, left….right , left….It took some adjusting as he is long-legged and I am not but when we were in sync it was wonderful.

This morning, the light of the moon woke me at about 5:30 a.m. The previous night we had donned our winter wear to look at the night sky; alas clouds had moved in. Sometime in the wee hours, those clouds brought a light skiff of the softest snow. When I make my way out to the ice rink, I can see a little by the glow of the moon. I feel my way more than usual , with my feet, as I search for the path. I feel my way with my skate blades as I make the first marks in the fresh snow on the ice. I listen to the scrape as the blades move across the ice. the ice is speaking – it can feel the warming temperatures and it is adjusting under my feet. Up in the sky, I can see Ursa Major, and Saturn and Venus but the eastern sky is lightening into an aqua and these bright lights are dimming.

Orion_HiRes_t460Back inside, I am working on a watercolour. It might be entitled “Skating on the Milky Way”. The part I am working on now shows the beauty of the ice, shows skaters looking down to see the mysterious and swirling Milky Way in the deep ice beneath their skates. Looking down at the Milky Way has inspired me to also look up at the Milky Way and to learn something about the night sky. I begin with Orion, the Hunter and at grateful to see it first in the East and in the middle of the night, there it is high in the South sky. Orion’s belt is brilliant. My painting will have the skaters on the ice underneath the night sky. For the next few weeks, I will be looking up…before I go to bed, when I wake in the middle of the night, when I rise in the morning. Galaxies above, galaxies below. All just outside my very own back door.

North by Northwest – Gifts of a January Gale (January 9, 2015)

Yesterdays wind, a north by northwesterly was reported moving  between 50  and 75 kilometres an hour. I tried to take pictures, but it was a challenge. You could almost watch drifts form in seconds. Shane, who did not try to take pictures (smart guy), observed that a lump of snow on the ice would catch more snow as the wind whipped it along and eventually this lump would get heavy enough to be moved by the wind. Here are some of the pictures I did get.

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It’s hard to see in this picture, but the snow on the ice is moving. Fast!

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After my foray into the ferocious wind, I decided that inside looking out was my desired location! Smokey the Cat agreed.

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Today the north by northwest gale left behind so many beautiful gifts. (No pictures have been altered.) Here are some.

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Ice Squeaks, really it does! (January 8, 2015)

Yesterday, another very cold day, we went for a morning skate just as the sun was beginning to touch the ice rink. It was so cold, that the ice squeaked as the steel blades of our skates moved across it. The ice has many different songs.

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Harvesting Icicles (January 7, 2015)

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About Shovelling (January 6, 2015)

Just after sunrise. january 6, 2015

Just after sunrise. january 6, 2015

Yesterday, my friend Linda wrote,  “I seldom love to shovel. But I know the feeling of accomplishment that comes from shovelling”. Many of us typically shovel the lane or the walk – underneath the snow is concrete or stones or gravel. We shovel because we need to go somewhere. Perhaps this what makes shovelling the ice rink more pleasurable – underneath the snow is ice, beautiful ice, which shifts and changes every day. I only shovel because I want to. After I shovel, I sometimes sweep – this allows the North Wind the best possible chance to scour and polish the ice below. It is fun to sweep ice – I imagine that it is my kitchen floor. I imagine that I am sweeping the Milky Way…… dark and wondrous and ever changing beneath me. I imagine I am dancing on ice – that an orchestra is playing just beyond the willow.

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The elegant sculpting of the night wind.

The elegant calligraphy of the night wind.

The Deep Cold  (January 5, 2015)

These are the days I especially don’t listen to the radio. Instead I bundle up – three layers- and out I go. I like to visit the ice rink in the dark, which is easy since I am a morning person and the sun is rising so late. Today Venus was shining above a setting full moon. I don’t skate on these really cold days. Instead I shovel, I tend to the rink, I get to know it better. Shovelling gives me deep pleasure and satisfaction. I like how it uses so many parts of my body. I like the rhythm of shovelling. I like seeing the patterns the shovel makes when I have cleared some snow. Through experience I have learned how to shovel (and so avoid tennis elbow) and I have learned which shovel is best for which kind of snow.

My body tells me how cold it is. My most vulnerable place – the tips of my fingers and thumbs. I learn that you can shovel without your thumbs. My thumbs are happier keeping warm with my fingers. I learn that as my body warms with the exertion of the shovelling, my fingers and thumbs warm up at the same time. Soon I am quite toasty. When I come in, I drink about a litre of water!!

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After the Big Snow

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The Big Snow  (January 2, 2015)

This is how the ice rink looked before the Big Snow came. 15 to 20 centimetres of it. The North Wind had polished and scoured the ice pulling my eyes towards my feet as I skated. Sometimes I felt as if I was skating on the Milky Way!

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looks almost like a beach!

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Then the Big Snow came!! The day before the Big Snow, i sneezed twelve times in a row and began to feel a chill deep in my body. I took to the couch nestled under a big blanket, with a book, and hot cup of fresh ginger and lemon. I stayed on the couch for two days feeling the pull of the ice rink all the while but nestling deeper into my couch home. It worked! The cold that almost came did not and on day 3 I was up and at her!!

January 1, 2015

Image 4I come down before daybreak, the growing moon is well behind cloud cover, so there is little light and yet, it is not completely dark. Yesterday a strong Northwest wind scoured and polished the rink. This morning there is a sugar dusting of snow. It is mild, too much wind to light an ice lantern, but not nearly as windy as yesterday.

This reminds me of an anecdote my friend Mary Love told me:

An Elder in the U.S. Southwest would go out of his home every morning
to see what the weather was like. After greeting the sun, he would say,
“Every day is a good day as long as we adjust ourselves to the day.”

Debra on the light coloured ice

Debra, yesterday, on the light coloured ice well scoured by the wind

 

Like the Milky Way

Like the Milky Way, bubbles suspended in the depths of dark ice

This is how I like to get my weather report. My winter rule – do not listen to CBC Radio before going outside! Go and see  and feel for yourself. Bundle up. If it is really cold I will just be out for a few minutes. If not, I enjoy the winter dawn for as long as I like.