Think about going backward. Think about going forward. Think about hard surfaces. Think about slick. Think about the throb of your feet, the hot focus point of this endeavor. Don’t think about the steel blade holding up each sole, or how your grandmother worried you’d be cursed with her weak ankles. Think about right. Think about left. Think it, and you’ll go that direction.
This is the first time I’ve been ice skating since I learned to drive, even since I learned how to ride a bike, at thirteen. Both have improved my skating: I understand how how torque applied to velocity should be subtle. Too much and you fall over. Dance helps, too, especially the Charleston.
Think about your hips. Think about your arms; think of them like sails. Consider speeding up to compensate for the Zamboni’s hourlong absence, the deep deep grooves in the ice. Think about arcs and tangents, not cornering too fast.
For the first time I envy the little nymphs spinning and leaping and speeding backwards through the rest of us, purple skirts fluttering. I took ice skating classes when I was maybe six or seven. Spraddle-legged, ready at all times to fall on my green mittens. I was only there because I had just moved from Maine and I missed the cold. I learned enough to get a patch with a penguin on it for my Girl Scout uniform. I didn’t want to jump. It looked too dangerous. Now I’m jealous there’s things my body can’t do. Dance computes, skating doesn’t. It’s hard to keep from taking my feet off the floor, ever. I appreciate once again the way water asks our bodies to alter our usual movements, whether it’s solid or liquid.
(and it makes me go all David Byrne on your ass. bumpy things. putting the garden in the house.)