Sunday Afternoon Ice

By Sharon Cunningham

Lake, ice, cold, the smell of hot chili simmering over a fire built inside an old tire.  Smooth, sparkling blue ice appears as the snow is scooped from the surface, inviting us to lace our skates quickly.

With the first push from the tips of our skates we glide, giving the sensation of flying.  Figure eights, circles, straight lines, start to appear on the smooth ice as we skate our patterns, feeling of lighthearted freedom.  Mom and Dad skate by arm-in-arm, in perfect unison, causing the others to pause and admire their style, then to try to model their precision.  Squeals of delight and grunts from crashes drift across the frozen lake.

But wait!  A large section of the lake has buckled as the lake expanded, forming large thick slabs.  Beautiful, tempting!  What can we do with that?  Ah, a perfect sled!  To break a chunk off will take more than one person.  Maybe Judy and Margo are interested in helping.  Oops, still not strong enough.  Dad and Mom glide by.  Perhaps they will help.

Success – a large chunk breaks with a crack.  Wow, a perfect sled!  Giving a big run on the tips of our skates moves the chunk smoothly across the ice. At the last minute, we jump on board and let it carry us flying across the lake in unpredictable circles.  The only way to stop the erratic movement and probable crash is to roll off the slab and let it continue its forward progress wherever it will lead.

Such fun causes pangs of hunger, and we gather around the fire where the warmed chili waits.  The heat of the fire is as welcome as the hot chili, warming our hands and toes and stomachs. Sitting on log stumps, we quench our hunger and rest our tired limbs. We take the opportunity to brag about the feats we achieved on the ice and to visit with family and friends also gathered here.

This is a perfect winter Sunday afternoon.