I love these cold november mornings……20 degrees at 7 AM…..The jungle telegraph has been tapping: Jory to Bill: “check the swamp! I’m trapped in Thanksgiving”…. Bill to Jory: “0.382 inches. Will probably blow out”…. Jory to Paul, an avid skater: “found any ice?”….. no response…. I know exactly how to interpret that…..Last year, as I sat on the edge of the swamp, trying to meditate it into a weight-bearing thickness, Paul had found a river estuary shielded from those early-ice enemies–wind and sun–and was skating his heart out amid the cat-tails.
Last year, wonder of wonders, we were on Plymouth Pond on November 22 and 23. This year is an “El Nino” year with predicted mild weather. That may mean a late start and early end, but, as Bill points out, we may have more resurfacings of the ice in especially good thaws, for the “middle season”. Maybe we won’t even have a middle season! Actually, after the trials of last season’s frigid temps, the entire weeks when we were below zero, the early snow cover, the weeks of snowed-out frustration; I’m ready to take my chances with El Nino.
I’ve improved my iceboat with a jam-cleat for the sheet (Lloyd would be scandalized!). I’ve improved my body with shoulder surgery, and a strong committment to thrice-weekly strength training. And–especially in what may be a quirky season–I’m more determined than ever…..absolutely hot-dipped galvanized….to grab every snippet of ice, any time and any where! Watch out 2016 season! Here we come!