When Dare was here, she dragged me skating at the Natural History Museum. I hadn't been on the ice in nearly 25 years, but she said she'd been taking figure skating lessons. My mother has long accused me of being so enthralled by Dare that if she jumped off the Empire State Building, that I would, too. Well, maybe when we were younger, I did follow her about like a big sister. The truth is, we actually have quite similar personalities, and things that either of us enjoy, the other one is likely to, too.
The first time I was on skates, I thought I was going to die. My balance was gone, I couldn't even remember how to move. "Keep your knees bent and you won't fall down!" Dare warned me, which proved invaluable advice. Somehow I got myself to the baby rink and pottered around until it came back. It's not like riding a bike - see, I am living proof that you can forget how to ride a back. But it is a case of muscle memory and practise. By the end of that half hour session, I could get around the main rink.
When Dare went back to Michigan, she left me her hand-me-down pair of skates (actually very good skates, I'm discovered) under the explicit instructions that I was to use them. And I'm happy to report that I have indeed been putting them to good use, and shall do moreso in the future.
Ice skating is that rare thing - exercise that doesn't feel like exercise. It's like cross country skiing - that same sense that you are flying, that you are a giant, that every stride carries you miles. Once you get your balance sorted, a sense of weightlessness and grace that I never experience in my galumphing earthbound existence. I skated for an hour, and would have done more, had not the cramps in my feet and the jelly-like sensation in my protesting muscles not driven me home.
I shall treasure the gift of the skates, and put them to more good use whenever possible.