I felt disappointed. Shoveling was the last thing I felt like doing after having such an inspiring day. All I wanted to do was come in the house and start making notes from my interview. Instead, I sighed; then wrestled the shovel off its peg on the garage wall.
As I began plowing my usual paths down the driveway, something weird happened. Maybe it was because of the crispness of the air (my car’s thermometer said “17”), or maybe it was the fact I had a scarf wrapped around my neck and mouth, like I used to do when I was young. But all of a sudden it felt exactly like the kind of night my friends and I would have loved to spend at the ice-skating rink.
Sometimes we’d walk one block to our school, where the city would plow snow into a circle and flood a rink for us kids. Other times we walked about four blocks to another neighborhood rink. We preferred this choice because there seemed to be cuter boys there. And sometimes, on special occasions, one of our parents would drive us to a park which had a frozen lagoon. The pond had two small islands you could skate around. This choice, of course was my very favorite.
Standing here on my sidewalk, at the age of 54 years old, I had a flashback – maybe a de ja vu sort of feeling. The air felt exactly the same as a night years ago when I was maybe 14. My cheeks felt that same sting of cold, but it felt good - healthy. I remembered what it was like for cute boys to steal our knit caps and skate away fast… and for us to skate after them in an effort to get them back. Exchanging names, flirting…
I’ve shoveled snow hundreds of times and I’ve worn scarves over my cheeks for a number of reasons, but I’ve honestly never had a recollection come to me so thorough or so powerful. I looked up at the clear sky, the night so still, and I smiled. My initial disappointment had faded, replaced by the memory of teenage ice-skating escapades.
Even though I hadn’t felt like shoveling, I’m glad I stopped and took the 15 minutes to do it. The break felt good, and even, in the end, provided this blog. My advice? In life, take time to smell the roses – or if in Waukesha, Wis in January, take time to breathe in the night air. You might get a very nice blast somewhere from your teenage ice-skating past…
Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available at www.amazon.com as a Kindle and a paperback version.