On Thin Ice

May 18, 2022
Bet you thought this was going to be a climate change post! Fooled ya! While I do indeed fret about the melting glaciers and other indications that our planet is in BIG trouble, I’d rather write about something cheerier: ice skating! We have, not one, but two enthusiastic skaters in the family these days, and while they aren’t ready to be in the ice dancing pairs competition at the Winter Olympics (yet), we’re proud of both Rose and Peter. My oldest daughter and youngest grandson love the sport, and are making great progress.  
Rose has always preferred solo to team athletic endeavors (surfing over soccer, etc.) and has been taking skating lessons up in Queens. I threaten to go up there and embarrass her by screaming, “You’re doing great, honey!” during her class, and maybe now that I’m retiring I will do just that some Sunday. In any event, I’m eager to see her in action. Peter I do get to enjoy, thanks to the weekly videos Ya-Jhu takes of his lessons at Wissahickon Skating Club. By lesson #2 he was skating without holding onto anything for balance, and runs (runs!) across the ice with tremendous enthusiasm.   
I have no clear memory of learning to ice skate, but any lessons I did take must have been utter failures, because I fall down even just thinking about stepping onto the ice. I recall sisters Mo and C skating now and then, but not me. Watching skating superstars spin and twirl on that impossibly slick surface is an ordeal, because I’m always waiting for them to have a televised wobbly landing or missed triple axel (isn’t an axel part of a car?) Btw, time out for education: I just Googled and, as always, was instantly enlightened. The axel jump is named for Norwegian figure skater Axel Paulsen, which I guess is better than a jump named for Peggy Fleming or Scott Hamilton (“Incredible! He just completed a perfect double peggy!”) Back to our regularly scheduled blog post.  
Even though I realize that the ice at indoor rinks does not have ten feet of freezing water beneath it, therefore not much chance of falling through a crack, why risk it? Amy March fell through the ice, remember? And almost drowned! I make it a point to avoid travails endured by any of the Little Women, including dying from scarlet fever (Beth) and having to write my books in longhand (Jo). So I will forever be on the sidelines, white-knuckling my cup of hot cocoa and holding my breath as the kids dart around on those razor thin metal blades.   
We’re all on thin ice these days, my friends, aren’t we? With so many perils lurking beneath (and all around) us. And so: do we quaver in the corner of life, or do we lace up our skates and enter the fray?  
I know I’m sick of quavering. But do I have what it takes to glide gracefully into the future?   
Time will tell.  

    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter