The lake in the center of town used to freeze reliably once or twice a winter.
Dad made sure we had skates starting in tiny sizes. He would tie our laces, my hands too little to pull hard. It was just enough to learn.
Can’t remember the last time I skated — at home, it hasn’t been a guarantee that the lake would freeze for years. The rinks at college didn’t appeal: water piped onto the green, squared off by white boards. There wasn’t much to see. I don’t know how to play hockey, do turns, or even skate backward. Based on the number of days I’ve hit the ice in my life, I’m the skating equivalent of an eight-year-old.
The last few days have been unreal. Hoarfrost under the moonlight, like skating through fields of diamonds. Catching the ninety minutes that the sun hits the lake in the morning. Cold and confused sockeye swimming underfoot. Ice so clean I have to adjust my stride, my skates slipping, dulled from years in my closet.
Wasn’t sure I’d get the chance to use them again.
Does anyone in town sharpen skates? I’m not sure. My dad would know.