secret peek at your neighbor-human

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Even if you skate alone ice skating is romantic because it is a valentine to winter. People leave their cozy couches and make their way in the cold to a clear patch of blue ice. Then they lean down and yank-yank on their skate laces, totter like penguins over rubber mats, and finally step with their steel spindles onto the frozen water.

A few sail away like pretty ships, but many, many, slip and slide, fail, flail and laugh. Get back up, grab their friend’s hand, do it again. Laugh at themselves, lunge into the wall, gently push off, start over. Adults do this! They pay to do it! Sure, some of them are high on drugs, or optimism, or both. But they do it and it’s inspiring to see.

Sometimes you see someone walk out, just a guy, dressed in sweats. Maybe he’s slouching. His hat is covering his eyes. He walks to the ice and all of sudden it’s like he’s dancing. You can’t help but watch his ankles because they are like two birds weaving through the trees. He’s so good! Did he play hockey? Did his mom used to take┬áhim skating as a kid? Does he love to skate by himself on Tuesday afternoons every week? We’ll never know. Without them saying a word, you get a secret peek into your neighbor-human and you see how talented and graceful they are, and you just admire them so much, these strangers.


  • Kristen

    My grandfather played hockey in high school on the North Shore and always skated beautifully until he passed away 9 years ago. He loved going to Frog Pond (always said with his delightfully thick Bostonian working class accent) in Boston in the winter to skate around. These words brought back the memory of the joy you could see on his face as he’d glide around so effortlessly.

  • Breanne

    We have an outdoor rink in the middle of our city and one of my very favourite things to do while there is to watch all the people. The ice is an unifying place and it is such a slice of humanity. Beautifully captured.
    Also? Those seal assistants are perfect!

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