Ed has these friends. These friends have ice boats. Ed, ever mindful of the fact that I am never as happy as when I have something to shoot (in the digital sense), calls friends and asks if we can come out – he’ll sail, I’ll take photos. Friend says to Ed: let’s put her on the ice boat. I’ll teach her to ice sail.
Ed knows that my one sailing experience took place this summer, on Lake Mendota, where I learned nothing much, finding solace and comfort against the choppy waters, in huddling in the back corner and counting the seconds until we docked. Some of the longest hours of my life.
Ed’s a shrug-shoulders kind of guy. If friend wants to teach Nina how to ice sail, that’s life for you.
Not to worry. I am not a mere slip of a girl out there on the ice. I am equipped! Friend (call him Scott, for the heck of it) makes me wear helmet and life vest and tough-guy gloves.
Why the life vest?
Oh, it will make you feel more secure. The ice is actually still about 6 inches thick. Don’t mind the cracks. Not much can happen there…
Man, this thing is speeding! Wait, did I pay attention enough? How do you STOP it? Turn to the wind. Look at the little thread, it shows you the direction of the wind. Okay, it’s from there. What the hell does that mean? Let me just turn this thing around and hope the wind dies…
Addictive! This sport is absolutely cooler than cool. True, it was a perfect day for it.
Afterward, while others sail, I borrow a pair of skates and go visit a fishing party in the middle of the lake. They have their Weber grill out on the ice and are waiting for the fish to bite. So far, it looks like dinner is going to be beer and chips.
Skating back, I see the cracks, I feel the soft patches of ice, melting under the strong sun.
At dinner, relaxed, drinking wine now, waiting for the steaks to grill outside, I notice the jump rope on the table.
You’re exercising with that?
No, Scott answers. I always take it with me. In case I go under. See the nails? I can use the handles to crawl out onto the ice.
Thanks for sharing. Glad I knew nothing of this while speeding on thinning ice.
Don’t worry. I work the volunteer rescue patrol. We would have found you within five minutes.
I think how slow time passes when you are underwater in Wisconsin in January for a whole five minutes.
[I have to end with a note of absolute truth: this afternoon was awesome. Get Scott to teach you ice sailing. What, you don't know Scott? Watch for the auction on behalf of the Jefferson County Humane Society. You can bid on ice sailing on his little boat. No question, it's a total high.]