Magic Ice

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the weather holds cold with no snow the lakes will soon be perfect. Maybe the magic ice will arrive. Ice that only comes every ten years or so here in Minnesota, perfect ice for skaters on the lake.

The teenage girls, would check the ice everyday after school. "Mom do you think it is safe yet?" NO, not yet, be patient girls." Then one day I say they can skate but only along the shore, and only in front of our place, and only when I am there, watching… ready to haul them out should the ice crack and they were to take an icy dip. Magic Ice, sometimes this ice would then be defiled by icy rains and heavy snows, disappointment..patience was not rewarded its full due.

Once in a great while, for a few days it is the true magic ice. The magic ice you wait years for. After school the teenage girls run down the drive arriving breathless with excitement. "It didn’t snow! Lets go MOM!" I have checked the ice, it is safe, they can skate out further in the lake today, maybe today will be the day that they can skate across the entire lake. The lure of being able to skate across this magic ice has a pull on them like Norwegians to a Lutefisk dinner.

The ice is clear, stretching out across the lake, clear and spooky. You can lay on your belly and shield out the light with your mittened hands and stare into the murky depths. You can see the weed beds, the submerged logs, ancient trees, and the black drop offs. The dogs would lick my face and rouse me from my under ice explorations if to say "Pay attention to the girls." The ice would be like a huge frozen mirror, with a series of cracks and fissures that must be there every year, but only visible in magic ice years.

The girls would skate, sometimes chasing each other in a game of tag, sometimes hand in hand. Giggling, cheeks bright red, eyes sparkling. "Mom the ice is great! Can we skip school tomorrow? Ice as great as this shouldn’t be wasted." "NO, you have to go to school, what kind of Mother lets their kids skip school to go ice skating anyway."

Only a few years was the ice make it safely across the lake, I would watch them on the opposite shore, specks skating along. Specks growing larger as they skated toward me and the safety of home..on Magic Ice:)

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4 Responses to Magic Ice

  1. says:

    Great story. I wouldn’t have let my kids miss school either, but I would for my grandchildren. Funny, how priorities change. Mary

  2. East Side Professor says:

    Nice blog today, well written and articulated.

  3. Peace Garden Mama says:

    Far Side,
    This was a beautiful post and brought back memories of my sister and I out on the winter ice in Northeast Montana. My mother would pack a thermos of hot chocolate, but Dad usually would be the one to take us. It was wonderful flying across the lake on skates, or skimming along the frozen river on shiny blades. It’s a memory my own children will not have.

  4. PrairieWoman says:

    Absolutely, beautifully written. Thank you for sharing it. If it were my grandchildren I would let them skip one day of school for such an experience that only happens once in a childhood, maybe twice if you are lucky. My own kids, no way. Off to school. :)

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