SUNDAY // elspeth

Sometimes I worry about us. I mean, since when do New England schools close because it's chilly? This sort of news makes me want to scream and then go through my family's drawers and make sure we all own proper long underwear, wool sweaters, and turtlenecks. 

Thankfully, some people seem to remember the fun aspects of winter. We went up to Pond Village in Truro this morning, where the ice is frozen. I took a walk around the pond while Alex taught Sally to skate: slow steps, a careful march. Eventually, she gave up and put on her boots to slide with the other toddlers who had shown up, all, encouragingly, in snowsuits, and one particularly brilliantly in a hat layered with a bike helmet. When we got back, Nora sat on the edge tucked into her carseat in a snowsuit and piled with blankets, and I laced up my skates for the first time in years. 

While it turns out I do remember some of my childhood skating lessons (hooray, back crossovers!), I was wobbly at first. The ice was thick, but I'd forgotten how settling ice cracks, and how loud those cracks echo. Other families showed up and ventured out, and while we were all unsteady at first, we pretty quickly got into the rhythm. Some of the dads started a game of pick-up hockey, and before long the ice was covered in skate scratch. It felt like American winter fun circa 1940. 

When we got home, Sally was chilled through. We fought this the way we've been fighting All Things Cold these days: with a warm pot of milk laced with unsweetened cocoa powder and a touch of maple syrup. I'm not going to pretend it's a recipe—even the least well-versed cook can put together a mug of hot cocoa—but it is a recommendation. 

I also recommend, if you're feeling wussy about the cold, getting into Laura Ingalls Wilder. We read The Long Winter aloud last January, when I was in the throes of morning sickness and it snowed every Wednesday, and it made me feel much better about things. Hey! I'd think when I had to walk up the driveway because the car was slipping. At least we don't have to twist hay in an outdoor lean-to to burn in our coal stove while temperatures hover around forty below for months on end! At least the nails in the ceiling above my bed when I wake up aren't frosty!

Perspective is a good thing. And so is cold, and long underwear and hot cocoa and ice skating. I hope you're enjoying it, friends.


Dorothi said...

I love this picture of Sally all bundled up and fearless on the ice! Your Dad first showed Gem how to skate at the old Dayton Arena.

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John Parker said...

Great article about Elspeth! It's always inspiring to read about artists and their creative journeys. I particularly enjoyed reading about how she incorporates nature into her work. Also, the stunning photographs of her pieces really showcase the intricate details and beauty of her designs. It's amazing to see what can be created with fiber optic internet and a lot of talent!


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.