Skating Into the New Year on Thick (-ish) Ice

The cold and clear weather made for a few perfect (well, it's all relative) days of skating to close 2017. And just like the year itself, there were a few lows, but such highs that I wanted to cheer-- I mean just look at this place. A person can't help but sing the Alleluia chorus. 

There were moonlight skates too, which we missed, it was too cold for starters-- three layers on my legs, down coat, wind jacket, thick neck gaiter tugged up over my face right to my hat, leaving a small gap to see-- and I'm a tad wary of frozen lakes at night. There are soft spots out there, holes that bubble up and skim over so lightly they can fool you, especially on the end and left (or east) side. I skate with heavy forks, just in case, but the new outdoor essential are picks designed to pull you up onto wet ice. Steve showed me his, explaining how they work through a frosty beard covered in goopy glaciers. 

It turns out Thom used a pair to save his life when he crashed through thin ice on a moonlight skate. He survived to skate another day, and tell us all about it. Shelly, who survived  a plane crashing into the cold water of Auke Bay last summer, broke her ankle as she stepped to the landing to take her skates off.  What luck. Both kinds. Fireworks and a bonfire on the lake New Year's Eve have resulted in a friend's dog running off, she was spooked and hasn't been seen for two days. Hopefully she's okay and will come home soon.

At the same time, there was a family hockey game, babies being pushed in big wheeled joggers by moms and dads on skates, an ice climber creeping up one frozen waterfall, and so many happy faces. When the ice is smooth the lake is magic. (My friend Tom says you'd be rich if you could bottle this joy and sell it.) Maybe, part of the thrill is the risk. And maybe a big secret to happiness is not being too afraid to embrace a little risk?

I think another helpful hint is in those old songs. Love the ones you're with, and you can't always get what you want, but you just might find you get what you need.

Everyone wasn't home for Christmas, but the 12 (can you believe that?) of us who were had a fine time.  Christmas Eve I sat with four grandchildren in church, which was my favorite present, until we came home and found the surprise of JJ and her husband Bryan hiding upstairs. (And then I had to endure the jokes about if I had enough food for them, too  -- Honestly? I made enough for Santa and all the reindeer to eat big bowls of smoked salmon fettuccine Alfredo, and Sarah baked a blueberry cake...) Christmas Day was a big feast with friends and family.

We walked it off in the cold sunshine.

Now,  as to my January 2nd resolutions, there's a reason I'm a few days late. I'm not big on the big ones I may never do anyway, like learning Italian, cleaning the basement, or quitting coffee. I already have a puppy. Instead, I'd like a year free of too much drama, where the good outweighs the bad, where the surprises are mostly happy ones, and if they are not, enough love from the people I'm with to survive them. I'm also buying myself a pair of those ice picks. 

I need some new rain pants, too. The cold warmed up and then it snowed like crazy, and sometime last night it changed to driving, windy rain. (The roads are an icy mess.) This morning my old Helly Hansens soaked through at the knees while walking the dogs. And here's one more lesson to start 2018 with (if you are looking for one): after all that December cold, the January rain felt pretty good on my face. 




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