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Solstice Skate

An avid ice skater, I did not want to face the prospect of a winter without my favorite sport. In light of the pandemic, I didn’t think it prudent to spend hours inside crowded indoor arenas, so I built my own backyard rink.

The day before the 2020 Winter Solstice, I enjoyed the fruits of my autumn labor. It was a little slice of heaven. For a couple of all-too-fleeting hours, I danced under a powder-blue sky. I forgot all about work, the pandemic, politics, pettiness, violence, racism, sexism, entitlement, oppression, greed, commercialism, exploitation, pollution, pain, shame, loss, sorrow, and all the other anxiety-inducing issues that seem to colonize the consciousness from day to day. For a couple of hours it was all lightness, bliss, and balance. (And an incessantly runny nose.)

Later that evening I recorded a bit of bass guitar to accompany the video. All in all it was a good day. Here’s to the return of the light.

Building the rink

Building the 24-by-48-foot rink was almost as fun as using it. I started making the structure—essentially a shallow above-ground pool—in November of 2020, using plywood side-boards that I sawed from larger sheets. (Each 4-foot-by-8-foot sheet of plywood yielded three 8-foot-by-16-inch boards.) I purchased brackets from NiceRink, to hold the boards upright and keep them from pushing outward. Then, just before the first hard freeze, I lined the rink with a large sheet of white plastic, and hired a pool-water truck to fill it.

The bones of the rink—essentially a shallow above-ground pool.
Me, standing in the water in late November, eagerly anticipating freezing temperatures.