It is a stereotype of Canadians that we were all born on the ice, knowing how to skate. Fortunately for our mothers, we aren't actually born with skates on our feet, but we are all expected to know how to swoosh around a rink with competence.
Tonight I swooshed on a rink overlooking the Falls, which was pretty spectacular in itself, but I was excited to just be on the ice. It was like I was taking my place in a Canadian brotherhood - the Brotherhood of the Ice.
By no means am I a champion skater, but I love the sound of my blades biting into the ice, and how my body feels when it remembers how to stay fluid through the knees. I love going fast enough that I can feel wind through my hair. I love leaning into the corners, balanced on the outside edge of one blade. It's a solitary activity I can do in the company of other people - perfect for a reclusive introvert who needs prompting to interact with others. I enjoy the challenge of having to look out for where other people are, anticipating their movements and maneuvering my way around them. Successfuly evading log jams, pile ups and groups of giggly girls on the ice gives me a zippy high; it satisfies my competitive self without anyone else knowing the game we're playing.
Now, the morning after, I still have a happy glow. It's like I've renewed my membership dues: I went skating, and I. AM. CANADIAN!