Monday, January 31, 2011

Skating My Joy

Deb: Swish swish swish. All I hear is the slice of my blade and the beat of my heart. Although I am the only person on the rink, I go as decorum dictates, counter clockwise, ever the good girl. The ice and I are married, linked by the steady rhythm of my amateur glissade. The ice supports me and propels my form as I etch my mark into its beautiful sleek self. Although I am skimming far and long, I reach no physical destination. But ohhhhh where my mind and body are going! 

I am thinking not about work or life or sorrows or successes. I just am. Spontaneous meditation. Joy. Joy. Joy. I am alive.

My blade hisses sweet grateful tingling taps that resonate deep within my  body and soul. The cold air snapping my cheeks and my tingling toes are my only reminders that this is real. This is happening now. It’s a celebration and I am the only guest.

I came to this party in the beginning prompted by a desire for winter exercise and as a reminder of my youth. What it has come to mean to me is something I could have never dared dream. I am in heaven. This is prayer to me.

Barbara: What a beautiful ode to your mode of prayer, Deb. You have brought me right into the zen of meditation just by reading this (which is good because I have so little equivalent outlet, save my weekly yoga).

Deb skates virtually ever day, even keeps her skates in her car because, to quote her, “Then I can just stop and do a few minutes on my way to the grocery store. Skating doesn’t always have to be an event I plan for.” I was stunned by the simplicity of this logic. You know, you have to plan to go to the gym or do yoga or meet your friends for a run, right? But if there’s no sense of responsibility to the event, then you can sneak it in anytime it fits. And you maybe get to enjoy this kind of dream-like, meditative, beautiful awareness of life almost by accident, unplanned for.

Deb took me skating the other day. We have a new outdoor rink in my neighbourhood that she had to try. It had been a while since I’d skated, but I was game. I can always handle winter if I’m embracing it somehow. And she was right, the rink was gorgeous, a large figure eight around naturalized hillocks. And she was right again—despite the fact that we were chatting as we skated (not usually associated with zen or prayer) and having to avoid rambunctious 10-year-olds who did NOT respect the rink “decorum”––it was soulful and rejuvenating. I think we both could have stayed out there for hours if we didn’t also have “stuff” to do.

Maybe I’ll keep my skates in the car and go meditate on my way to the grocery store.


  1. I skated for 10 years as a kid. Laces very very tight and anyone can skate, I feel. Only inside rings here, however, yours looks amazingly beautiful.

  2. Maybe we should all "Keep our skates in the car" least metaphorically...always be open to the the the suggestion that we are younger than we are...more carefree than society might think we should be..and more spontanteous than we have been in years...
    After reading this..I am going to mentally be ready to ice skate..with or without the ice!! xoxoxox!

  3. Thanks Madge, that is just one of the many little rinks I go to. Maybe you should lace those too tight laces up and grab a pal and do an indoor rink for nostalgia's sake. If they are anything like the indoor rinks here you can treat yourself to a cup of the worst hot chocolate you've ever tasted. Melody I love the "skates in the car" as a "get out of your head" free card!Love the concept!

  4. I'm so jealous, seeing you there on ice without a bunch of hockey players shooting pucks around in flagrant violation of public skating hours rules. I skated a lot as a kid in the Margo skating rink, with real ice. Yeah, those were the days. Now I live on an acreage and *could* flood myself a nice skating rink on the garden. Hm. If only I wasn't so damn lazy ... if only I had a slave to shovel the snow off ... hm ... where there is a will, they say ....

  5. I love to Ice skate. I usually skate inside because outside is too cold and I have been sick latley BUT it's still just as fun to skate inside. Latley I have been trying to teach some of my friends how to ice skate but most of the time they fall down and spend most of the time sitting on the ice. They get mad but that's the whole fun of it. Going around in circles and falling and trying to keep your balance and just having a great time and letting your worries go away from you. It's Amazing.

    PS: One of the lessons that I have learned from Ice skating is,if you fall down get up quick and watch your hands. I found that out the hard way one someone ran over my finger and sliced it open. Yeah that was fun.NOT.

  6. Hey Kate-flood baby flood. You'll be glad you did! If you build it, they will skate.
    Lyndsie I felt that finger story way way down in my gut. Yikes. Up go the hands!!!!!!!!!

  7. Running is my prayer, so I completley hear what you are saying.


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