Icy conditions? Bring ‘em on! Onto the lake that is. Green lake has frozen over and the quintessential Canadian experience is free for the asking. Skating outside, on a sheet of ice black and shiny, with the sun shining above making the air bubbles trapped in under the surface sparkle like jewels, is an amazing experience.
But if you’re a six year old boy, or his forty-something year old father, looking through the clear as glass ice to see the plants and stones on the lake bottom is not high on your list. What is more important, and probably even more quintessentially Canadian than just skating, is not what you see under the lake, but what you play on it. Shinny, the game, sticks, pick-up, or just plain old hockey, the game we Canucks call ours. Playing it on the white ice of the arena is one thing, a game that every kid who grew up in this country knows, and probably loves. But to step onto that lake with a stick and a puck, is like stepping into history. Roch Carrier’s hockey sweaters are now jersey with Canucks and Hurricanes, but the fervour and the fun, the joy of the game are all still there, untouched and untainted. We, I think, as adults, don’t want Christmas to be about the material goods. We want to think, in this, the most sentimental of seasons, that our children will somehow glean something about the true spirit of Christmas from us, even as we race from store to store, whether on line or in the mall trying to track down the things that we think will make our families happy. When we stop, perhaps sometime on New Year’s Eve, and look back again at how, once more, Christmas became the Hallmark shopping event that we tried to avoid, we become jaded and think that somehow that innocent joy is no more. And then, just before Christmas one year, the lake freezes over. And once again, we believe.