Skating the Shaker Ponds ~ Dudley Laufman

Skating the Shaker POnds

Skating the Shaker Ponds

You know the Shakers have six ponds in the woods,
All within walking distance of each other
and from us as well,
Not to mention a seventh, mile and a half below.
All connected by ditches.

One day in December some time ago
before the snow came,
We had a spell of cold weather.
Mercury dropped to ten scratches
Beneath the hole for three nights running.
Morning of the fourth day
Snow was predicted by nightfall,
Fact was, the sky was yellow gray by eleven.
Gonna skate, gotta do it now.

Through the woods up to the North Pond.
Long and narrow, Glimmerglass smooth.
We skated the length in two minutes,
Off with skates and through some bony marsh
Onto Runaway, the largest of the seven
with an island to go around twice, then
Race down the middle to the dam.
Skates off and over a trail to the earth dam
east end of Fountain, putting in,
Skirting the shore to the spillway end.
Boots on and along the pine needled
woods road to the
Cluster of three ponds below the Village.

Snow starting.

Around the top one quick, then
Tip toe on skate points to the middle pond
where the swan lives year round now.
Over the dam dropping right onto the lower pond,
Skating into a snow swirl that skimmed the ice,
starting to stick to the shore.
We called it quits.

Inch of snow on the ground by the time we got home.
We buttered up hot rum and maple syrup
Sprinkled with cinnamon, sat by the stove saying,
We should do that again, take in Carding Mill too.

But we never have.
That was twenty years ago.

Dudley Laufman

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