Channeling Kevin Costner from Field of Dreams… What compelled me to drop nearly everything in my life, grab a shovel, and clear a rink of ice in Whallons Bay on Lake Champlain the weekend after a big snowstorm? No whispers from the pine trees, but I believe it could have been prompted by a certain 4-year-old niece who received a lovely set of pink skates from Santa for Christmas. She had been begging everyone in the family to skate with her since. I also think the 4-year-old in me had been eyeballing this one clear sheet of ice that floated into the bay two weeks prior and was just waiting to come play.
That Saturday morning I popped out of bed and headed down, shovel in hand, and began to lay out the perimeter of the future rink. Sliding across the surface as the shovel edge scraped at the glistening black ice beneath, I found myself in an almost meditative state, like Zen sand raking. I started noticing cars passing by a little slower as my rink size progressed, several of them back and forth a few times, some folks smiling and waving, all seemingly interested and curious as to what exactly was happening on the ice.
Ice Skating on Lake Champlain
The next morning I found myself negotiating on the phone with above-mentioned 4-year-old niece, who was finding it hard to believe that a real rink existed for her to go skating on Lake Champlain. Finally, with our laces all tied up, we were skating! And twirling and laughing hysterically at ourselves trying to be the next Peggy Fleming or Michelle Kwan.
When exhaustion hit, dropped to our bellies and smooshed our faces into the clear black ice to see what creatures might be living beneath.
The next day a family visiting our neighbors hit the ice with hockey sticks in hand and pucks flying everywhere. In that moment, looking out at the frozen lake and my freshly cleared rink, I realized I had cleared it and they did come.
An iced over lake doesn’t happen as often as most of us would like, but when it does and it’s safe to do so, get on it. Go skating on Lake Champlain, and you’ll remember that moment for the rest of your life.
- Bridging Champlain: A NY-VT Celebration (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Photo: A Bit of Shore at Whallons Bay (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Winter Waterspouts on Lake Champlain (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Lake Champlain Frozen, Flashback to March 2005 (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Lake Champlain Freezing Over (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)