Stopped by the Ice

ice 2My ride home from work today was aided by a rare beast: the tailwind. It is about time, he seems to avoid me as much as he can when I am pedaling home after work.

The roads were clear and I was setting a good pace. I was excited about the possibility of arriving at my apartment earlier than normal.

As I crossed the river, with four miles left to go, I noticed something cool (as in actually cool) in the trees.

It was ice. Big slabs of ice.

The receding water had left ice shelves in the swamp area near the river. I had to check it out.

Leaving my bike leaning against the guard rail, I scrambled down the bank, approaching the frozen swamp with caution. Was it really as frozen as it appeared or would it crack under my weight?

Then I realized the water had already receded, the only thing underneath the ice was shallow pockets of air. Emboldened, I stepped onto the ice and found it to be as firm as a concrete floor. I walked around on the icy, snow covered surface; looking at the tiny footprints left by woodland creatures and snapping photos of the stunning ice shelves. Some looked like tiny caves and others looked like tables. It is in these moments that I wish I knew how to take better pictures and/or had invested in a better camera. I want to remember how wonderful these unique ice sculptures really were!ice 1ice 5ice 3ice 4

As I headed back up to the road, I saw a man striding from my bike back to his car. I suppose he stopped to see if the abandoned bicycle was a sign of a human in distress, but once he saw me returning from my swamp wandering, he figured I was okay.

By the time I reached town, the sun was beginning to set. I arrived at my apartment much later than I had originally anticipated with a huge smile on my face. That is the magic of biking in winter, it slows me down but in the process it gives me memories I hope I will never forget.

Ice Skating

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Generations of kids sitting on the bench and digging their skates into the wood does some damage!

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But it did make a great place to hang my skates while I was taking my boots off.

My childhood home was down the street from the local ice skating rink and many happy afternoons were spent speeding on the ice with family and friends. When I was twelve my family moved to a different town and I have only been back to the rink a handful of times since then. I don’t think I have skated at all in the past three years.

But on Sunday I found my old ice skates and today was too beautiful to waste so I headed down to the rink. Benefit #709 of living in a small town: I got the rink all to myself. (Aside from a pigeon that eyed me from the rafters.) Plus the ice was pristine, no one had been on the ice since it had last been Zamboni-ed.

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An empty rink.

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A not-quite-so-empty rink.

Thankfully, skating is like biking in the sense that once you learn the skill you don’t forget it. I was particularly pleased to discover that I could still skate backward without falling on my head.

I skated until my feet became uncomfortable from being cooped up within the confines of figure skates and then I headed home. On the ride back I stopped at an intersection while I waited for a snowplow to go by. Both guys in the snowplow smiled and waved at me. I am guessing they have passed me before on one of my travels!