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.