Magical Ice Skates

I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.  Back when I was growing up there were no video games to play or Netflix to binge watch on a cold day.  When the weekend came we would find something to do, preferably not at home and with our friends.  One of my favorite winter activities was when the Racine Zoo pond would freeze and would open for ice skating.

The lights would illuminate the pond at night.  There was a warming house just under the monkey cages that didn’t have such a great smell but it was where you would change from your shoes into your magical ice skates.  It was a place where you would meet with your friends, talk, gather, and generally be kids.

Didn’t know how to skate?  No problem.  There was always someone around that would teach you.  Didn’t have someone to go with?  No problem.

Once you had changed into your ice skates it was just a short walk from the warming house to the ice rink.  Once on the ice rink, you would find some skaters racing from one side of the rink to the other.  There would be others that would be gathering along the sides trying to keep themselves upright.  There would be others that would be effortlessly gliding around the outer edges changing from skating forwards to backwards.  There were even some that were able to twirl in circles with their arms beautifully swirling in the air above them.  Didn’t know how to skate?  No problem.  There was always someone around that would teach you.  Didn’t have someone to go with?  No problem.  Just have your parents drop you off and you were certain to find a friend or two that had done the same.  By the way, you would tell your parents what time to pick you up because there were no cell phones, so once you were dropped off you were there until the time that they picked you up.

Now, for this quiet introvert, I didn’t much care if there was someone there or not.  I would just skate around the pond alone.  As a matter of fact, that was some of the best times for me.  When I was in college and living with my parents it wasn’t unusual for me to layer on my long underwear and top it with my favorite light blue cable knit sweater, grab my skates and head on down to my favorite little pond.  I didn’t care how cold it was because once I got moving I would always warm up.

I loved hearing the sound of the blades against the ice as I moved across the frozen pond.

I taught myself to skate backwards and even learned to do a twirl or two.  I would rewind those things I had learned in class that day in my mind.  I would review mentally my notes that I had taken.  I would quiz myself on what I had learned.  I would be moving across the ice but very much inside my mind reviewing the thoughts that had gathered there during the day.  It was my solitude.  It was my escape.  It was a place that provided me peace.  It was magic.

As the magic of the holiday season is upon us I think of the countless hours I spent on that little zoo pond wearing my magical ice skates.  Maybe my gift to myself this year will be to pull down that favorite light blue cable knit sweater and find a place to go where I can wear those magical ice skates again.


Raissa Urdiales
Raissa Urdiales
Raissa lived most of her life along the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. She currently lives in the quiet city of Tega Cay, South Carolina, just across the border from the very active art community of Charlotte, North Carolina. Raissa has not always considered herself as an artist. She spent a great portion of her adult life staring into computer screens and managing computer system implementations and upgrades in the traditional corporate setting. It was through a chance paint night that she discovered her passion for painting. On her 51st birthday, she treated herself to some acrylic paints and brushes and has not stopped painting since. She balances her passion for creating with her day job as a systems analyst. In the wee hours of the morning, you will find her painting before she immerses herself in the technology that is consuming the world today. Although Raissa does not have formal training in the arts she is very conscious of the benefits it has on the human psyche. She holds a Bachelor's of Science majoring in Psychology where she focused her studies on Organizational Psychology. Through her corporate career, she has learned how to strike a balance between that which provides monetary reward and that which fulfills us as humans. For her, this balance is obtained through painting, writing, and exercise. She is currently a member of the Guild of Charlotte Artists where she exhibits select pieces during the quarterly art shows in and around the Charlotte Metropolitan Area. She has also submitted and is featured regularly in the Light Space & Time online gallery. When she is not painting or working with computer systems, she is writing. She currently has a column with BIZCATALYST 360° named “Artful Being” where she writes on topics both in and out of her corporate life to help others gain balance on what it is to be human.

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  1. Raissa, this a great memory brought to life through your words. Thank you taking me on this journey back to a much simpler time when life led us to capturing magical moments like these.❤

    I hope you ice skate this Christmas!