Thursday, December 23, 2010
Holiday magic on Lake Wingra: Pickup hockey under a string of lights on an improvised rink.
If you drove along Monroe Street last night and looked down Knickerbocker toward Lake Wingra, you would have seen these lights that appeared magically on the lake along Wingra Park. A group of friends have been doing this for several years now. They get together during the holidays, set up lights and a generator, shovel out a rink, and play several pickup hockey games over the course of the holidays on frozen Lake Wingra. With benches along the shore and a fire in the grill, it all has a magical, improvised, old-fashioned quality. When the holidays are over, the lights -- like holiday lights everywhere -- are packed up and put away until next year.
The full moon last night added a special touch, a natural counterpoint to the string of manmade lights lighting up a little patch of ice. The sounds were wonderful in the night air, skates cutting the ice, sticks siding along the frozen surface, and the puck's solid thwack. It all sounded different than on an artificial rink. The entire frozen lake seemed to resonate with the sounds. Hockey the way it was originally played, buddies getting together just for fun on a frozen lake.
I also shot a bit of video, which didn't capture the light the same way as the stills -- or the sounds. What you hear is mainly the generator in the foreground. (Note to self: Don't shoot video next to a generator.) But it does give some idea of the action. And I like the dog entering from the left and fetching its master, shepherding him home for dinner perhaps.