Thursday, 14 January 2010
The Sunday Afternoon Drive: MacGregor Point
If you grew up in Ontario, chances are you spent time at an arena learning to skate. You probably even tried out the nearest outdoor rink, usually a flooded and frozen basketball court in a nearby park. If you were really super lucky, your parents built you your VERY OWN rink in your VERY OWN backyard. I was one of those fortunate kids who had a persuasive mother and an obliging father and therefore, her very own outdoor rink.
All sorts of related rinky memories came rushing back to me this past weekend when D and I took Jady Lady skating at MacGregor Point national park. Before you freak out, let me clarify: my child is not a sporting genius and did not strap on pint-sized skates at 8 months old. D did the skating and pulled her around in her fancy new sled while all the other children watched in envy.
The park is huge and offers lots of funky winter activites, like winter hiking, skiing and snowshoe trails. Best of all, there's a fabulous outdoor 400m long "skating circle" nestled in the midst of the woods. I've been dying to go ever since I heard about it last year and D, in his husbandly wisdom, suggested the outing over supper on friday night. Sometimes that guy says exactly the right thing.
Skating on an outdoor rink requires a certain knack for navigating bumpy surfaces, stray branches and errant clumps of snow. Outdoor rinks usually aren't groomed, and this one was no exception. It was a jigsaw of cauliflower-esque lumps, gouges from enthusiastic skaters and deceivingly smooth patches. Seeing as how I'm learning to skate in brother-in-law C's old hockey skates - completely different from the figure skates I grew up using - I resembled a drunken ballerina. Wee children were passing me. Squirrels ran faster than I skated. D, on the other hand, was the epitome of effortless grace. I love watching him skate; years of hockey have given him speed, power and balance, things I covet even more than I covet his naturally curly hair.
Jady seems to enjoy the outdoors. At least she doesn't scream or whinge. Occasionally she smiles up at us from the comfort of her sled, but usually she just stares in wide, blue-eyed wonder at the snow, the trees, the clear winter sky, mummy's goofy helmet and daddy's long legs. I'm glad she doesn't hate winter and can tolerate the cold. I forsee many more afternoons outside with baby Jade, and I can't wait to strap teeny tiny little skates on her in a few years and glide (okay, flail) around together on our very own outdoor rink at Someday farm.