Saturday, December 06, 2008

Stay Off the Ice

     Who has walked on the ice this season?  I have walked on the ice already this year.  I know, it was probably not a very good idea.  And honestly, I was scared to death so I didn't get far.  I went down to a friendly local boat launch while I was wandering around town the other night and took those first frightful steps out onto the ice.  I got to about the end of the pier at the boat launch when I heard a little bigger crack than I liked and I leaped, gazelle-like, back onto the shore.  The way I looked at it, I was doing something incredibly stupid but in a relatively safe situation.  I mean, I was pretty close to shore and not far from home.  Had I fallen in I would have been maybe waist deep in the water.  No big deal.  But some people had gone farther.
     You know how I know that?  Because I know everything.  I thought that went without saying.  But no, it's barely December and lots of people have been out on the ice.  This is not a smart idea.  Just in the same park where I had been, at the next dock over, there were not only footprints leading out onto the ice but there were sled tracks.  No, not like a snowmobile.  I mean like a little sled that you would pull behind you.  I am hoping that whomever was doing the pulling wasn't pulling their kid out on the ice.  I would guess that they were pulling ice fishing equipment out there.  In fact, everyone that I have seen out on the ice this season has been ice fishing.  That's what Dr. J was doing out on the ice when he went.  But here is the deal: there is only a couple of inches of ice on the lakes AT BEST.  I know ice fishing is fun but let's get smart and give it another week or so before we go out there, please?
      If you have to walk across the ice with a pole, smacking the surface ahead of you to see if it is thick enough to walk on, it's not thick enough to walk on.  End of story.  The fish will still be there in another week.  And by then there will have been seven more days of sub-freezing temperatures to ensure your safety.  I know, I know, you will have to drill a hole farther through the ice but I don't care.  You will have less of a chance of falling through.  Especially if the lake you are planning on going on has currents.  This is especially true if you are on, oh, I don't know, a chain of lakes that are connected by a river, or maybe a giant Great Lake that has lots of currents flowing along the shoreline.  GET OFF THE GOD DAMN ICE!
      Now, many of you may think that I am being a bit overly dramatic.  You might even think that I am anti-ice.  But I assure you that I most certainly am not.  I have been walking on the ice since I was a little kid.  I have been on the ice on ATV's and snowmobiles and even in cars.  As we approach Christmas you will see me out there with my snowshoes or just walking normally or even with my bike (that's on my list of things to do, I think it will be fun).  I understand it.  I have done it before.  I am not like Sarah was when she was up from California, all amazed that people could walk out on the ice.  I am just advocating being smart about it.  There is no glory in being the first person out on the ice.  Because very often you are also the first person that the volunteer fire department has to pull out of the water.  I guess that you could look at it optimistically and say that you were just the last person to go swimming.  But still, it's not safe yet.  So stay off the ice for a little while longer, please.  Nobody likes a funeral.

No comments: