January 08, 2011
The scrape of skate blades
When I was a kid, we skated on the little pond in my parents’ yard. My father hung a spotlight in the willow tree, which lit the pond nicely. Just beyond the edges of the pond, shadows stretched across the snowbanks and beyond that, the white snow disappeared into darkness. Snow muffled the rural landscape, and the scrape of skate blades against ice was the only sound I heard as I skated around and around in the cold night air.
The sound of skate blades against ice reminds me of that scene. I can close my eyes and picture frozen cattails, a little pine tree half-buried in a snowbank, the dark night sky overheard.
When Brooklyn Friend took us to an urban skating rink, I heard the clatter of skate blades against ice — that same noise. But all around me, rose tall buildings, with light spilling out of display windows. Hundreds of people, all in dark clothes, rushed along the sidewalks, sometimes talking but mostly silent. Tourists stood in clusters to take photos. Music blared from speakers. Security men guarded the big Christmas tree.
Down on the ice, kids were doing the same stuff we did as kids: learning to balance, grabbing each other’s hands, screaming at each other to wait up, slow down.
We didn’t have time to skate; we were on our way to a jazz club, and Shaggy Hair Boy wanted to be there when the doors opened. But I wandered around for a few minutes, happily taking pictures and ruminating about urban nature, and what happens when you created a skating pond in the most urban setting possible. When I looked up from my camera, I realized that I had lost Shaggy Hair Boy in the crowd. There were just so many people rushing about. But then he appeared, almost magically, by my side.
“Oh, good,” I said. “I was afraid we had gotten separated.”
“It’s so easy to find you in the city,” he said. “You’re the only one wearing a red ski jacket.” He grinned as he pulled up his own dark hood, and we followed Brooklyn Friend down a side street toward the jazz club.
Posted by jo(e)