Tuesday, January 05, 2010

on frozen ponds . . .

It's a bit chilly here in the deep south. It was twelve degrees when I got in my car to go to work this morning. Not quite the temps Alabamians are used to! It's been several (five, to be exact) days since the temperatures ventured above freezing. I had to laugh when the weatherman reported this morning that we would be experiencing 'bitter cold' temperatures by the end of the week. Buddy, we're there!

Driving down from Acorn Hill over the last few days, we've noticed that slowly, but surely, the ponds are freezing over! It's been an interesting progression to watch. Neither of them are ready for ice skating, by any means, but another week of these temps and they most likely will be! Thinking of frozen ponds and ice skating brings with it a wave of childhood nostalgia. I have fond memories of trekking through Severndale (our community) to Oakhill Elementary School (up hill, both ways), to the pond behind the school. We'd skate and play for hours and hours. When there was snow on the ground we'd take our sleds and go down the hill from the road to the school. What fun! When the sun started to set we'd head for home, shivering and worn, but happy and rosey-cheeked, too. Hot chocolate was always ready for us, and the smells of a home-cooked meal promised our bellies would be warm and full in no time.

I remember one particular trip to the Oakhill pond (which was probably more like a big swamp) during Christmas vacation. I'd gotten a really cool pair of boots that were Eskimo-ish and fur lined. I believe that may have been one of my favorite gifts under the tree that year. Anyway, a group of us trekked up to the pond, me wearing my new boots. It was cold, and I think I remember there being snow on the ground, but evidently it hadn't been cold long enough; there were some thin spots on the ice, and it didn't take long for me to find one! The water wasn't deep, so it wasn't like I fell in and got sucked under the ice or anything dramatic; I merely stepped *through* the ice and down into about twelve inches of water and muck. Cold, cold, COLD! That was my first thought. Pull foot up! That was my second thought. Unfortunately, when I did, the boot stayed down below, caught in the muck. I was so heartbroken! I remember getting down on my knees and fishing around in that cold water until I found the boot and pulled it back through the hole I'd made. I remembering walking back home (maybe about a mile) with one boot off, totally dejected. But thinking back on it makes me smile. I cleaned the boot as best as I could, but it was never quite the same. It didn't stop me from wearing them, but they were certainly no longer my prize.

Isn't it funny how a simply thing like driving past a pond that's icing over can bring back such a vivid childhood memory? I haven't thought of that boot/ice incident in years and years. But it's a part of who I am.

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heavens.

I'm looking forward to Saturday and the opportunity to 'test the ice' on frozen ponds . . .


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