Saturday, December 11, 2004

Ice Skating

There is now an ice skating rink in the Eiffel Tower. That's right, in the Eiffel Tower itself. Patinez au Premiér Etage de la Tour Eiffel! The rink is nearly 200 feet in the air, and the sensation of flying must be quite acute!

Unlike golf, where the course is often a beautiful destination, ice skating rinks are largely utilitarian and indoors. There's a lot of hardware needed to keep a sheet of ice hard smooth. For pure destination ice skating, you must go outdoors.

I've been lucky. When I first moved to Boston, I lived near the Public Garden, a gorgeous walking garden that features a quiet pond with swans and swan boats. During my first cold winter in Boston, I found that the pond froze into a perfect patch of ice. In the late evening hours, I would skate around the darkened pond, careful to avoid thin ice, thrilling to how open the space was. It was glorious.

I haven't had that kind of raw ice skating experience since. When Jenn and I visited Rockefeller Center in New York City, I told her we'd have to ice skate there, but we never have.

Maybe the news of the Eiffel Tower hits me because I first experienced ice skating at an outdoor rink. Jersey City. Palisades Avenue (Pershing Field). I had borrowed ice skates. I somehow knew that I was taking the very first steps in a long ice skating love affair.

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