Not too long ago, on one of this winter’s bounty of fine days, my good friend Micheline persuaded me to try skating again—even though it’s been at least 15, if not 20 years since I last laced up a pair. In fact, I no longer own a pair of skates, but luck intervened. Another friend lent me her skates which happened to fit perfectly.
Micheline and I drove a short distance to Patinage en forêt, a 3-kilometre path looping through a forest. The brilliant conception of the owner of a local construction firm, the skating path is wide enough to accommodate comfortably two skaters side by side, with benches every 200 meters or so where you can rest and enjoy chickadees landing on open bird feeders nearby.
It was magical. Micheline, who floats on her skates with a dancer’s grace, patiently slowed down so that I could keep up with her. My legs were stiff, my ankles wobbly, and my turns decidedly awkward. It didn’t matter. As I glided along, an irrepressible glee bubbled up, and I felt like a kid again: joyful that my aging limbs could still play freely, happy to be out in the cold with rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes.
When I got home, it seemed only right to fall back into a thick snowbank and swish up a snow angel.
This poem by Nikki Giovanni conveys the delight I felt enjoying the pleasures of winter.
once a snowflake fell
on my brow and i loved
it so much and i kissed
it and it was happy and called its cousins
and brothers and a web
of snow engulfed me then
i reached to love them all
and i squeezed them and they became
a spring rain and i stood perfectly
still and was a flower
~ Nikki Giovanni