jo skates

Skating in the key of life



So skating went on hold for a week while I was in Oregon. One of the highlights was watching the eclipse, which was magical. We made it to the zone of totality, and had perfect weather. Hooray!

There are lots of better pictures available online, but I can’t resist sharing a few of my own. That’s sort of the idea of the blog, no? There are far better skaters out there whose ice-worthy efforts deserve more attention, but since it’s my blog, my own skating takes on epic proportions.

One thing I noticed from the eclipse is that even though the entire experience didn’t last very long, it felt like time slowed down on the way from light until dark and then back again. It’s probably because we were all so focused on the moment, really capturing every little change in light and temperature, rather than getting distracted by other things. It’s funny how long even a few minutes can be.

So time is relative, but it doesn’t take an eclipse to teach us that if we are figure skaters! Those free programs (or three patterns of a compulsory dance) can feel like an eternity.

What’s more, I find I skate my best when I am not just trying to get things over with. This is not about skating more slowly; I definitely need to move more quickly over the ice. It’s about making movements more deliberate, so that I make sure I engage the right muscles and don’t just drop or throw my body into things.

My theory is now that really good ice dancers must have that elongated and “floaty” look because they don’t rush the way their extensions come in. I don’t have a way of really measuring this, but it almost seems as though it takes as much time for the free leg to come in as it did to extend.

I tried this today, and it seemed to work well with the idea of the “dissolving” free leg that Laurie suggested last week. It was a bit hard to get focused on anything at today’s public session, though. My skates felt strange after a week off and I definitely needed to get my sea legs back. Plus the session was really crowded with lots of kids and clueless parents–one even carried a full cup of coffee around the rink until he spilled it by the boards, which made quite the mess.

Looking forward to working more on my eclipse-inspired elongated, floaty, and dissolving free legs later this week. In the meantime, I’ll share a lovely gift I got from a seven-year-old artist, David. The reverse sides of this wooden heart show day and night–or maybe an eclipse!


Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

4 thoughts on “Eclipsed

  1. Great photos of the eclipse, Jo! We did not get to 100% totality here so I am jealous that you got to be in a location that did. Love the analogy of ‘dissolving’ free legs. Mine tend to be like a heavy rock – they drop and sink pretty quickly rather than stay extended and melt away.


  2. Eva, I love the “rock” analogy–so familiar! Maybe I treat my free leg more like a bowling ball!!!


  3. I’m glad you got to see the eclipse, magical wasn’t it? We did too! You are inspiring me to get some photos up on my blog. Ty talks about feeling like you are moving through water to get that quality of resistance for every motion, that analogy helps me.


  4. I like that moving through water idea. It makes it so you are really conscious of those oppositional sets of muscles. Will have to try that one too! Glad you saw the eclipse too–looking forward to your pictures!


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