In a typical Vermont winter, there’s a fleeting moment of good ice, for skating. Yesterday was it.
Good ice depends on cold weather and no snow. Good skating years occur when winter snaps the water shut. Last year, winter arrived in late January with wonderful, deep, snow that made for fantastic snow shoeing in the hills around home – but no local skating. This year, a combination of snow, sleet and rain made for a white Thanksgiving and a gray Christmas, with ice on the sidewalks, but not on the ponds and lakes.
Finally, over New Year’s, cold set in, and by late on the second day of the year, skaters were out on the ice. With a storm of snow, sleet and rain in the forecast for the afternoon of the third, I scrambled to rearrange my weekend, so I could spend a few hours on the ice – while it was there.
I have the choice of two fantastic places to skate near my home. One is in Brattleboro, twelve miles away, at the Retreat Meadows – a large, shallow, body of water where two rivers meet. The other is Sunset Lake, just three miles uphill from my house.
Due to its proximity to Brattleboro, the Meadows fill with skaters and becomes something of an impromptu party on blades. I love the informality of greeting acquaintances, skating together for the time it takes to catch up on each others’ lives, and then glide on to another part of the ice, another grouping of friends, another spin around the perimeter of the giant, outdoor, rink.
Skating at Sunset Lake is more remote, and that’s where I went yesterday with a friend and our dogs.
With the storm approaching, the sky was the same gray as the ice, and so low, I could have been skating through heaven.
Once I found my balance, I was.
Shortly after I returned home, it started to snow and then rain, shutting me up indoors, where I was so pleased for having seized the fleeting moment of ice.
No sooner had I congratulated myself than I started to realize how this perfect alignment of weather is particular to Living In Place – and a suitable subject for this blog. But I’d already decided I’d post on Wednesdays; by Wednesday, the fleeting moment of ice would be long past.
And that was my Eureka moment: I could do with this blog what I did with the ice – and take advantage of the fleeting moment to write.