Morning Skate: Hugging Winter Goodbye

The sun has no difficulty rising in the morning, and it has begun to hesitate before setting in the evening. The effect is that temperatures are seasonable, which is to say, the ice will begin to melt, now. In fact, daytime temperatures will remain above freezing for the foreseeable future, which means that our outdoor ice skating days have come to an end.

We said goodbye this morning, the Nachmu boys and I, setting our alarms for just after sunrise to do so, putting on our skates to enjoy perfectly smooth ice. The surface had melted yesterday. Certain sections of the ice re-froze in the night to become crystal clear, ideal for ice skating. Alas! Such perfection is a harbinger of the end.

I tried to take a moment to soak it all in, but it was no good: I was forcing it. This is not sentimentality; it’s more like pictures of a child’s birthday. There is nothing really to remark except that we threw a party. So I stopped stopping and started skating, making sure to bend my knees, making sure to keep the puck in front of me, making sure to sweep through the puck instead of trying to come up over it.

The Nachmu boys did the same thing. We skated for a while in a field which was redolent of bright and natural light, which is surreal, for ice skating is normally done in winter lighting, which is decidedly dim, or under electrical lights, which is not quite dark. In either case, it is an embrace of Winter upon us, welcoming us to a stark domain in which we find much happiness out-of-doors. Today, however, we were embracing Winter, and it was an embrace to say goodbye.

Now the eye turns indoors again, where plans will be laid for the garden, which will be laid out in a month or so, and then planted after another month. But there will be no more out-of-doors until then, except to gaze upon the remnants of Winter, which is about to be driven into exile by mad-laughing Spring. The wind will blow and the snow will fly, but these weapons, being wrested from the hands of Winter, belong now to Spring, who does not know how to use them properly, not until Summer begins his preparations, which settles Spring into green.

We will miss white, anticipating with much longing while we return to the indoor ice arenas, remaining, always, servants of restful, reposing, reclining, Winter.