Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Longing to skate March 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:15 PM
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My neighbor's temporary "pond."

IF I WAS 10 AGAIN, I’d slip on my winter boots and dash across the street to slide on my neighbor’s pond.

Oh, for the joy of slip-sliding across ice, free and untethered from the worry of falling.

Those thoughts flew through my mind this morning as I viewed the pond that just days ago existed only as a patch of dormant lawn, visually unappealing in the deep of the winter we haven’t had here in Minnesota.

Tuesday brought snow to most regions of our state. But here in the southeast, precipitation fell as strong, steady, relentless rain that gushed down hills, pooled along curbs and flooded basements.

And in some spots, like the low-lying lot that dips between two neighbors’ property, the rainwater just kept pouring in, creating a pond.

That water’s frozen now, and, as I gaze out my window, I’m tempted, oh, so tempted, to pull on my chunky and practical Northwest Territory boots and race over to skate upon the ice. Except that the ice likely descends no more than a half inch.

I cannot risk it, risk the falling , the plunging into ice water, to relive youthful moments of skating across corn field-stubbled ponds in buckle overshoes.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


8 Responses to “Longing to skate”

  1. It is just too tempting! I would want to do it, too!

  2. Oh those carefree winter days when the ice would beckon me also. I think I was about 12 or 14 when I got my first pair of whiter than snow skates and every winter after that I would spend hours on the ice, either in our little town of Belle Plaine where the ice rink was located beneath the water tower or in Minneapolis at the North Commons park rink. It was huge and I always imagined myself as a great speed skater flying as fast as I could round and round that rink.

    But my favorite place to skate was in the large ice filled ditch that ran through the farm. I could skate a half mile or further protected from the cold biting wind by the steep sides of the ditch. Reality came when I had to climb back out of that ditch and face the daunting northwest wind and walk that mile back to a warm house. No warm insulated boots back then. Just “rubber” boots with imitation fur collars. And the boots were covered with patches that my dad had used to fix the numerous rips that were in those boots. And those darn zippers never did work right!

    No insulated snowmobile suit. A couple of pairs of thin cotton socks and blue jeans kept us slightly warm. When you were skating you never felt cold and you were in another world. Those are very old memories for me now. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I, too, creep across anything that might be icy now. It is funny how far away the ground seems to be now.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks for sharing your memories, too, Harriet. We had only those field ponds on the farm and a small rink in Vesta. I eventually got ice skates, too, a hand-me-down from my Aunt Dorothy. I used to love to skate.

      I had forgotten all about those zippered boots with the fur collars. Did you line them with bread bags in the spring like we did to keep water from seeping inside?

  3. Sartenada Says:

    I started skating when I was 7 years old. My specialty was speed skating. Years passed and skating passed slowly away from my life. We are moving at the end of this year and me and my wife have been thinking to start to skate again.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I’m impressed. Speed skating. My fear of falling (I have an artificial hip) keeps me off the ice.

  4. We got rain here, too. About 1.5 inches. A little snow topped it off. And yes, we, too, have those tempting temporary ponds! I didn’t get a picture of one, though…

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Ah, so we were in southwestern Minnesota today and wondered if we would be staying an extra night due to that unexpected snow. Fortunately, no wind, so we were on our slow way home Sunday afternoon. Just had to drive with care. Beautiful snowfall, though, with those big, fluffy flakes.

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