Sunday, December 10, 2006

We've had hardly any snow so far this season, and although I miss the white stuff, I won't mind too much if it continues holding off and the weather settles in below freezing for a prolonged period. If that happens, I may just have to get out my skates. (The lovely photo above, by the way, is not my own; please read below for credit/source info.)

The lakes are beginning to freeze over around here, of course it will take a long stretch of cold weather for them to freeze enough to be safe for ice-skating, but seeing the frozen surface as I drove past Lake Nokomis this afternoon, one of several lakes right in the city of Minneapolis ("The City of Lakes"), it reminded me of the winter a few years ago when we had a prolonged early cold spell but also no snow. The lakes were well-frozen and ready for skating by Christmastime, and our friend Sandra and her kids, Theo and Alice, are avid winter outdoorspeople, so they persuaded us to meet them at Lake Harriet in South Minneapolis for skating one afternoon. My son, Martin, was friends with Theo, so we agreed.

What we found under those rather unusual conditions (a normal winter brings lots of snow to Minnesota), was that we could easily skate out to the middle of the lake. Normally, of course, there would be a large area cleared of snow, but the size of the official ice rink paled in comparison with the whole lake.

Harriet is a pretty little lake about 3 miles in circumference, with a charming building on its north shore (pictured). So to skate out to the middle of the lake and look back at the refectory was quite pleasant. And once out there, we met people fishing through holes they had drilled in the ice (a fairly popular sport in Minnesota). We asked them how the fish were biting and then headed off in some other direction. There were a couple of people with ice-boats, which glided over the surface guided by colorful sails.

The whole experience was delightful and certainly memorable, so I wouldn't mind if we could skate the whole lake once again; even though I do like the snow.

The photo of the Lake Harriet bandshell, as viewed from the land looking out at the lake, was taken by Hwee Fuan Tey,
I found it at

(If I skate out onto the lake this winter, I'll take and post a photo from that point of view!)

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