Sunday, November 23, 2008

Magic Ice

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the weather holds cold with no snow the lakes will soon be perfect. Maybe the magic ice will arrive. Ice that only comes every ten years or so here in Minnesota, perfect ice for skaters on the lake.

The teenage girls, would check the ice everyday after school. "Mom do you think it is safe yet?" NO, not yet, be patient girls." Then one day I say they can skate but only along the shore, and only in front of our place, and only when I am there, watching... ready to haul them out should the ice crack and they were to take an icy dip. Magic Ice, sometimes this ice would then be defiled by icy rains and heavy snows, disappointment..patience was not rewarded its full due.

Once in a great while, for a few days it is the true magic ice. The magic ice you wait years for. After school the teenage girls run down the drive arriving breathless with excitement. "It didn't snow! Lets go MOM!" I have checked the ice, it is safe, they can skate out further in the lake today, maybe today will be the day that they can skate across the entire lake. The lure of being able to skate across this magic ice has a pull on them like Norwegians to a Lutefisk dinner.

The ice is clear, stretching out across the lake, clear and spooky. You can lay on your belly and shield out the light with your mittened hands and stare into the murky depths. You can see the weed beds, the submerged logs, ancient trees, and the black drop offs. The dogs would lick my face and rouse me from my under ice explorations if to say "Pay attention to the girls." The ice would be like a huge frozen mirror, with a series of cracks and fissures that must be there every year, but only visible in magic ice years.

The girls would skate, sometimes chasing each other in a game of tag, sometimes hand in hand. Giggling, cheeks bright red, eyes sparkling. "Mom the ice is great! Can we skip school tomorrow? Ice as great as this shouldn't be wasted." "NO, you have to go to school, what kind of Mother lets their kids skip school to go ice skating anyway."

Only a few years was the ice make it safely across the lake, I would watch them on the opposite shore, specks skating along. Specks growing larger as they skated toward me and the safety of home..on Magic Ice:)


  1. What a lovely remembrance! I've never walked on a frozen lake, much less skated on one. It just doesn't get that cold down here in bayou country! We have seen the water in the ditch get a think layer of ice on it once every ten years or so! I pictured it all as I read it, and I would love to look through and see the life below in the ice cold water.
    Thanks for visiting Bayou Woman and commenting! Come back anytime and nice to meet ya!

  2. I love that post! I have wonderful memories of skating on the frozen river not far from our house. sigh. thanks for re-kindling that memory.

  3. Lovely post!

    We get magic ice almost every year on the lake outside our house.. (only about 3 days though last year)...

    That black clear ice scares me though, but when the snow plough has ploughed a track for the skaters, then I know I'm safe!

  4. My ex-husband's grandfather was Norwegian. So I've heard of Lutefisk, I don't remember ever having it before. But every Christmas we would have Lefse, I wonder if my mother-in-law still makes it?

  5. I have lived in Florida my whole life, never had an opportunity to experience something like that! You should have let them skip school! ;-)

  6. What a delightful remembrance. We do the same thing only it's on the river and it's only about once every ten years that it's clean or snow or sand.

  7. What a picture you paint with your words. Nalley is from Michigan and has similar memories. For me, a Georgia peach, it is all just amazing!

  8. This reads like a description of another planet - my little fountain on the front porch is still gurgling away, and we are complaining of the cold. But I am a softie on the 'staying home' thing too. Lovely

  9. Spirit Lake had magic ice yesterday!!! You've inspired me to post photos.

  10. I hope we have some Magic Ice this year. We have cousins who live on the lake and the kids have so much fun skating at their house--especially when the ice is perfect!

  11. I love your blog! I just love coming here! I just enjoy the whole visit!


  12. That is so beautiful, I am right there with you, cold nose, rosy cheeks. And a sense of exhilartion that I have not felt for years.
    Thanks, for writing such a wonderful post.

  13. Oh your magic ice is a great story. I have only seen it a few times in my life. It is spooky :) I also agree, you should of let them skip school. They would of had a blast.

  14. I have never experienced magic ice, but have skated on almost magic ice many times.

    And a few years ago, I ski-ed on snowy ice at Jill's in-laws lake with the mother-in-law and Norm. That was magic even if the ice wasn't.

    But I am remembering the year I lived in North Dakota and could skate on the sloughs, around the cattails!


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie