Thursday, January 22, 2015

Revisiting Childhood Pleasures

Today I felt incredibly old and wonderfully young all at the same time. And it wasn't dementia setting in; I went ice-skating. Well, actually, it was more like ice-shuffling. It was a beautiful day - temperatures in the 30s and a blue sky without a cloud to be seen.

In my imagination skating was going to be like riding a bike, something you never forget how to do. In reality though, skates have changed, my center of gravity has changed, and my courage has been subsumed by common sense.

There were kids there with a folding chair and one of them let me use it. Otherwise I'm pretty sure I would have clung to the fence the whole time. As it was, I took a full 30 minutes to lace up, inch my way out onto the rink, and scoot my way around the perimeter with the help of a folding chair. My ankles were wobbly and I felt muscles I'd kind of forgotten I had.

Speaking of fogotten muscles - I recently realized that here on the prairie I have lost my stair and hill climbing muscles. After a couple of visits to places that required climbing stairs I realized that I now have a very lazy backside. Neither my home nor my work requires going up or down stairs with any regularity. Another good reason to try to regain my ability to skate.

But back to the rink. . . maybe the best part was that I saw lots and lots of "my" kids and their friends. They were all very sweet and friendly and encouraging and helpful. I think if when I fall I will have help getting up!

Another happy thing about this adventure was learning that the rink is a joint project of the city and the state. It has a warming house and skates in good condition which can be borrowed for free. It employs two teens at a time whenever it's open (starting at 4pm every day when school gets out, and at 8am on Saturday and Sunday.) My tax dollars are working on things that really impact the community: exercise, employment, safety, and intergenerational interaction. 

I'm going back! I wish I had a training tool like this one:

I guess I learned without one before so I probably can again, albeit at a much slower pace. I suppose I could even toss my own folding chair in the trunk of the car.

In the end I left smiling. It had been a pleasant break in my day. My cheeks glowed from the longest stretch of time outdoors that I've had all winter. I will go back. And next time I'll stay long enough to justify drinking hot chocolate afterward. 

Still revisiting my childhood pleasures. . . 1100 Miles North.