Fresh air and sweaty hair. When a lack of snow is limiting your winter activity list, grab your skates, throw a stick over your shoulder and find a pond.
Over the river and through the woods, in search of that ever-illusive patch of glass. Our family is fortunate to live near swaths of greenspace, littered with lakes and shallow ponds that freeze up early in the season. If we're lucky, it was a fast freeze on a calm day. This year, we were lucky.
Under a dusting of snow is an entire pond of smooth, solid ice.
Once we've buckled our buckets, tucked mitts into coat sleeves and tied up all those loose ends, it's game on. For these little skaters, we use the word "game" loosely. Not hockey players, but love to play.
When visiting this particular body of water, one can expect to come across a handful of other intrepid neighbours. Today we have the place to ourselves, but thank those who came before us and put in the grunt work to clear a rink. And a maze of twisty, turny skate paths for those of us with short attention spans....
Again...Not. Hockey. Players.
So we explore the swampy shoreline by blade, dodging rocks, reeds and driftwood lodged in the ice, counting no less than eleven beaver lodges en route.