Skating on Thin Ice

Skating on Thin Ice

My last entry about walking in the Metro Parks around Columbus was back in November. Although Dora and I continued to walk around our neighborhood, our trips to the parks came to an abrupt halt, for several reasons. Fortunately, not one of them was for illness or injury. Our winter was not particularly brutle, but we had a lot of rain and wind and generally nasty weather. Then there were the holidays , and Dan went back to working part time. Meanwhile, I managed to get to the pool at the Y twice a week, but no walks in the park. It was a gloomy season.

But today, I am happy to relay to you another unique experience at our favorite Metro Park. Although we’ve had a snow storm on top of an ice storm, we were fairly confident that by now, the maintenance crews would have cleared the trails, so off we went for a new adventure—walking on ice.

Normally, Dan describes the beauty around us, but on this winter day, he mostly had to keep his eyes on the trail just ahead. Once in a while, we enjoyed relaxed walking on pavement that was dry and cleared of all snow. Then suddenly, we’d be sliding on what is called black ice, a thin layer that is not seen until you’re on top of it and fighting to stay upright. I had considered wearing my cleats, which I attach to my boots, but then I changed my mind at the last minute. Bad decision. I tried to keep my knees bent and relaxed, so that if I did fall, it wouldn’t break anything, a habit I picked up from cross country skiing, and Dan was busy, not only doing the same thing but also making sure I was not going to fall. Meanwhile, Dora was happily frolicking in the snow alongside the trail and wondering why she couldn’t detect those wonderful smells she enjoyed in the summer. She did spot a wild turkey, strolling down the trail, as if he owned the place, and she began to follow him until Dan called her back. I’m sure her intentions were only to investigate what kind of weird thing this was, but I wasn’t so sure about the intentions of that turkey. But he was pretty cocky, pun intended, since the holidays were over.

Because this was our first outing in over two months, we quit at 2.25 miles. I felt like we should have done at least one more mile, to make it worth the drive, but it was wise to quit while we were ahead. A broken hip or elbow surely would have ruined our day. But nothing ruined this day, because we were finally outside in the winter sunshine and doing something good for our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. The whole experience reminded me a little of skiing, which made me a little sad, because Ski for Light was cancelled this year. But it also made me a little glad to be out of the house and to smile at the joy that playing in the snow can bring.

Mary Hiland

Author of

The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir


Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life

Available from Amazon


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