|They only had three days, but they made the most of it. Vancouverites flocked to Trout Lake last week after the park board declared it was safe for skating. I wasn't one of them. (Photo by John Denniston)|
Twenty years after it froze hard enough in Vancouver to allow for outdoor skating, the miracle happened again last week. Thousands of skaters began packing Trout Lake in east Vancouver after the park board said on Thursday, Jan. 5, that the ice was thick enough to be safe. John photographed the skaters, and I thought longingly about joining them.
My siblings and I grew up skating, as did mom before us, and mom and I used to talk nostalgically about the sheer joy of skimming fast over ice. To us, it was a distant dream, but my brother Brian, who is often able to skate on the lake near his Alberta home, told me recently he'd just had the best skate of his life. A sunny day, a long stretch of wind-cleared ice, geese flying past -- it was like, he said, being able to fly himself.
But my old skates no longer fit. My balance, never good, has deteriorated with the years. And I remember mom breaking her wrist when she had a late-life go at revisiting her childhood on skates. There are many reasons why I should not lace up a pair of skates again, but the park board just gave the final one. On Sunday, it closed the lake to skating due to rising temperatures. In Vancouver, there's not a lot of time to dither if you want to skate outdoors.