In the middle of the peninsular city, named Emera after the electricity provision company, is an oval of ice.
Vanessa Ratjen said she was going to get one big thigh from skating in the same direction all the time. And the music could be better. And ill-fitting, poorly sharpened skates lead to wobbly ankles and inefficient glides. And walking to the circular rink with chattering teeth, numb fingers and inadequate scarf coverage—no no no, go inside, drink whisky and read easy books and cover up with blankets and sink into cushions. Sink into the early darkness of the cold season.
Too cold, it seems, to circle like too many hamsters, into the headwinds and tailwinds of the Commons.
Fingers are too numb to properly tighten frayed laces. Step onto the ice like the first step of a diapered baby. Thinking about each movement, thinking about the coordination required between the muscles of the thighs and the lower back—skating muscles—and where do the arms fit in? Means thinking about falling.
So stop, go. No thinking. Push against the frictionless surface. The effortless glide powered by muscles of the thighs and lower back.
The tips of the oval are the funnest, turning in and out of the wind. Weaving in and out of the crowd, some people move better than others. Some people grew up on the rink and the art of skating is part of their nature.
Succumb to the rhythm of the thighs and lower back. The arms don’t need help. Succumb to the wind and the cold. Take off the scarf after two laps because of hot cheeks.
The winter air, normally an enemy to the marrow, revitalizes. Blood flows redder, richer in veins after three laps of non-thinking.
First world problems are pinpricks in the vast fabric of the universe, light years away from the figure gliding among so many figures in circles on the Commons.