This is Your Brain on Ice

Red Santa

I lived in Colorado for seven years (on and off) and I never learned to ski, but I did learn to ice skate, and ever since my booted-and-bladed feet first touched ice, I’ve been in love with the sport.

These past few Sundays have found me sitting on the bed folding laundry and watching figure skating competitions. I’m not sure who I’m rooting for, which means I don’t much care who wins, but I enjoy the skill and artistry, even so.

My own skates sit, idle and dusty, at the top of the hall closet, their blades covered in purple and turquoise guards bought eons ago from a rookie player from the San Jose Sharks who was doing his time in the pro shop.

My first skating memories, however, have nothing to do with rinks and music, and everything to do with funky metallic ‘thermal’ socks that made my feet itch and sweat, and snow-packed rolled-up cuffs of jeans, and water ripples frozen into the surface of the ice.

We skated outside, and stayed out til the ice and snow had frozen our laces to the point where my best friends Siobhan, Larissa, and I would seriously contemplate walking home on our skate-guards or attempting to skate down the road, frozen three feet thick with old snow and dirty ice.

That was in Georgetown, when I was seven, and The Town would turn the baseball diamond into an outdoor skating rink for the kids, so we wouldn’t take it into our heads to go all the way out to the reservoir. (Don’t tell my mother, but sometimes we DID go all the way out there on our bikes, but never to skate.)

So we would turn circles and try basic spins, and hope that our short and sassy Dorothy Hamill-esque haircuts looked as cute on us as they did on her.

I’m pretty sure they didn’t.

I’m not sure why ice skating is on my mind tonight, but it might have to do with the recent re-discovery of this ancient picture of me:

Skating in Evergreen

I don’t really remember the day, but the notes on the back, in my mother’s handwriting: January 1st 1977, Evergreen Lake, CO. Elevation 8,500 feet. Temperature 6 degrees. “If you take my picture I’ll scream.”

Today’s Santa: On my fireplace mantel, every year, stand a collection of Victorian-esque Santa Claus dolls. This one is one of the oldest, the red one.

(Hey look, doing Holidailies just before midnight…again.)

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