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Ice skating my way to the bottom

This afternoon for the first time, in what, 8?, 10? years, I went ice skating. 

My mother's ashes went up in flames.
My father told her so.

I told her so while she was still living, but apparently she hadn't listened.

Though the experience was firmly surreal,
it was an excellent experience.
A decent workout.

The usual weak, out-of-practice ankles warbled, yes, warbled in my boots. Quavered.

A new experience: Gliding was incredibly awkward. I had difficulty maintaining an edge.
Over and over again, I drew from the physical memories within. A simple three-turn stilted and not fully completed.
Skating on blades seemed foreign.

But I persevered. Figure skating IS my home. It doesn't matter if a decade has passed. It's a place I always felt at ease, even when off the ice. Clearly I needed to focus on edges and speed. Now I understand why compulsory figures are so important! All those years I loathed practicing them, now I sought them out ... in an informal way. It helped. Worked on stroking and speed around this very interesting double rink with a speed skater's track connecting the two around the perimeter. 

Crossovers came more easily than skating forwards. Maybe that's not so odd. Yet still transitioning from one edge to another was stiff, awkward. A little scary.

Skating felt foreign enough, I didn't do any jumps and only 45 minutes or so did I dare attempt a spin. Executed both a tiny waltz jump and a stronger spin at the request of different young skaters. They spilled out their effusive compliments, which was fun to receive. Though I told them that they need to remember Sasha Cohen and her beautiful spins. And encouraged them to practice if they want to skate well.

Feeling alien on the ice, I didn't want to make excuses that my skates were the problem. It was all me. I waited all these years to step back on the ice. 

Yet when I finished for the session, I checked the sharpness of the blades' edges and discovered they were a mix of dull and somewhat sharp. Hesitantly, I left the skates with one of the proclaimed experts in sharpening figure skate blades. I was burned horribly in the past, in of all places, Grand Rapids. These guys sharpened the blades like hockey skates, removing any arc, rendering them worthless. I had to shell out big bucks to replace these. Heck! I learned it can't be taken for granted that those who sharpen blades for a living know what they're doing. It had never been an issue in the past. Even at my high school's ice rink.

So the next time I get out on the ice, it should be clear whether my blades played a role. I'm thinking maybe a little. What I need is to get out on the ice and often.

Beyond the awkwardness, I felt the bliss.

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December 2011