Late evenings, after supper, in the winter when it got dark early and was cold all the time, my mom would ask me to skate with her. I was probably 8, 9, 10 and our neighbors had built a skating rink in their backyard. I would help put the plywood up and watch the hose and shovel the snow off in exchange for being able to skate whenever we wanted. Mom had been a figure skater as a teen and she almost got in the Ice Capades but her parents wouldn't give her permission. She could skate backwards, do spins, and other modest tricks and this always impressed me because with us she'd never expressed any interest in athletics.
The Berents rigged clamp lights in the trees that would illuminate the rink. which was a long rectangle taking up most of their big backyard. We'd skate around for an hour or so with the moon the snow and quiet. Outside the rink was black, shadowy, wet and inside was phosphorescent like a flash bulb, powdery, warm. I don't recall conversations before during or after these adventures - it's almost as if I dreamt them. But I can picture our skates at the back door dripping from their pegs, a purely iconic Northern image, and I know I didn't dream this, I know that life dreamt me.