black ice

According to Wikipedia black ice, sometimes called clear ice, is a thin coating of glaze ice on a surface, especially on roads. The ice itself is not black, but visually transparent, allowing the often black road below to be seen through it. Eric Mitchell sent this photo of his skating across a frozen lake in the Berkshires. The ice looked as smooth as glass. I love pond hockey, but it has become as rare as black ice.

Dakota from the 169 Bar had heard my tale of skating on the sidewalks of the East Village in 1992. He laughed in disbelief, however the rock-n-roll bartender hailed from Tucson and no one from the desert knows anything about ice other than ice cubes for a drink.

This winter has been exceedingly mild with no snow. Maine was beset by a deep freeze and a circular floe of ice formed on the Presumpscot River upstream from the old SD Warren paper mill in Westbrook. Newspaper reported the phenomena as a galactic apparition. None of them have lived through a New England winter where trees in Aroostock County exploded in the arctic cold.

Another time I was driving taxi down Clearwater Street next to the Christian Science Mother Church in Boston. The asphalt of the back road was covered in black ice. I tapped on my brakes the the Checker Cab went into a side slide. Two Boston cops were eating donuts at the end of the block. The driver noticed my approach.

Slow and elegant. He tried to pull aheads, but the cop cruiser’s rear tires caught no traction. Both officer watch in anticipation of a crash. The Checker stopped an inch from the cop car. All three of us smiled at each other.

Back in the 1970s ice was ice. Sometimes good and maybe times in the century of climate change not good.

Back in the 20th Century the ice was thick on Watchic Pond.

Twelve inches thick.

Good for skating once the snow was shoveled off the surface, but nothing beat skating up 2nd Avenue.

Nothing at all.

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