I must have been skating some thirty years now, not every winter, but in total. I have never been careless or unattentive. I wouldn't skate when nobody else did. In short: I wouldn't test my luck. Neither have I today. Since the ice of our little lake here in Wessling got messed up with warm weather yesterday, I checked the webcam for people skating on Woerthsee - and to my greatest joy they did! Plus, the surface looked really even and great. And in addition: It was a misty-foggy day today, perfectly matching my mood and making for some mysterious, glazed frosted scenery - excellent!
Although having been "in the funk" to some extent over the past few days, the gliding, the fresh air, the scenery made me forget all that as soon as I felt the the rhythm of my own skating strides. I got almost inebriated with joy and started to look forward to at least an hour on the ice, possibly more.
At the far end, I ran into someone, I had been in a web-programming class with a few years ago and so we had a little, nice chat. But I didn't want to get cold, so I continued my first lap around the lake, intending to make a full round, have a cup of tea I had brought and then head on to the second round.
About half-way into the "home-stretch" a female person walks her kid onto the ice from the bank. While I'm approaching with long, measured strides, she calls at me "There's quite a cracking noise going out there". I turn around and mean to reassure her that everything's fine, when I hear a sharp cracking noise myself - but it's too late already! I can see the ice breaking beneath my left foot and the next thing I know is the sensation of ice-cold water in my skating boot. Then I lose my balance and fall, anticipating to feel that same sensation of cold water on my chest and then the rest of my body. But I'm lucky: The ice doesn't break any further and I get to make it to the bank, where I take my boot off to assess, how much water has come in. The shere surprise that this had actually happened outweighed potential shock by far - I couldn't believe it! I had just looked away for an instant, because she had been addressing me - and that's when I must have overlooked that thin layer I had approached. arrgggh!
Like I said before, I wouldn't consider myself careless, and so to actually dip my toe and breaking in made me angry more than it shocked me. Of course, I was being very careful and didn't take any chances any more. Since my socks and underwear had remained considerably dry and wasn't all soaked from the fall, I decided to just put my boot back on and take the same way back that I had come. And also: Isn't there an expression, which says you have to sit in the saddle again right after having fallen? Exactly.
And guess what? I'll be back tomorrow, if temperatures hold.