All I want for xmas is to be able to ice skate

Winter is here, and once I’m done with the required seasonal illnesses, I’m going to be a sledding, skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, ice skating maniac. I would even snowmobile if it was possible. Okay maybe not. But I really wish we could still ice skate on the various ponds and “lakes” in Pittsburgh’s parks…

Highland Park’s Carnegie Lake: summer / winter

Schenley Park’s Panther Hollow Lake: summer / winter

At least we have an extra place to skate this year because of the Winter Classic. Not that I’m even a habitual ice skater! I do like the romance of it, though. Which is why I can’t NOT post this video, even though I will probably regret it later. (Do you ever find videos and feel compelled to post them just because someone took the insane amount of time to make them?)

So I’m hoping this year will be the year that I try ice skating one more time, and succeed in staying on the ice for longer than 15 minutes before giving up! If that doesn’t work, at least it’s still fun to drink hot chocolate and watch other people fall down.

In my search for historic ice skating images, I stumbled across this article about the Schenley Park Casino, which is one of those Pittsburgh things that aren’t there anymore (as Sebak would say…yet he never featured anything this cool in his movies). It burned down within 2 years of opening. It seems, though, that this may have been the site of Pittsburgh’s introduction to hockey!

The following day The Pittsburgh Press had this account: “Between 2,500 and 3,000 (despite bad weather) showed how hockey and ice polo should be played when business is meant. Before 9 o’clock the boys lined up and gave an exhibition of hockey. This game has never before been seen in Pittsburgh, and it was a revelation. The Casino players, in truth, didn’t know just what to do with that little flat “puck” used in hockey. They didn’t know whether it was good to eat or whether it was a holiday toy. No account was kept of the hockey score, but the crowd marveled at the work of the visitors.”

1895 - the earliest known image of ice hockey in Pittsburgh?!

Happy holidays, and GO PENS


“Beauty is Poland’s winter”

From a 1970s Polish nature journal.

[warning: google translations…yet they can be poetic in their own way]

“Are spruce, children,
sleigh bells,
snow holy night,
clearer from the candles.
Beauty is Poland’s winter.

-Mieczyslaw Jastrun, Tale of Our Land (fragment)”

“the mountain mist crawled. Pregnant clouds rain down […] August.
Gray fumes cling to steep slopes. Light clouds floated
airily to the winds, which smoked the white clouds of steam as the tops of volcanoes …

And somewhere behind the mist reverberating from afar – pathetic (?) deer roar and hum eagerly advances in the gulf stream.
Fearless was grazing, releasing the occasional thick grunts, not a challenge to
fight the unworthy, but rather a warning to them, and there resides the Lord of the forest, crowned
in a wonderful wreath of twenty branches…

-Julian Ejsmond, In the forest”