It doesn't freeze here very often, but when it does islanders instinctively know to gravitate toward Fisher Pond. In deep shade all but the middle of the day this time of year, Fisher Pond is only a few feet deep and rewards our deepest winter yearnings with good solid ice as soon as the temperature stays below freezing for even a couple days.
Better yet, old time islander Gary Peterson and his Minnesota-born wife raised their 3 kids on skates and somehow, over time, decided to hold onto every size as the kids went through 'em. Years passed and folks came to know what to do with their old skates - send them over Peterson's way. Today, this fine and generous couple of grandparents have boxes and boxes of skates they store in their attic for occasions such as this, when they load their pickup full of boxes of skates, head down to Fisher Pond, and give them out to any and all who'd like to take a turn on the ice.
This week the Petersons have been at Fisher Pond almost every morning and every afternoon after school, fitting folks to boots and making good conversation. Gary told me yesterday that Fisher Pond used to be a cow pasture - it was an earthquake in the forties that shifted things around and raised the outlet for Shinglemill Creek just enough to create this 6-acre pond. And islanders have been showing up, hopeful and bundled up whenever the pond freezes, ever since.
Thanks to Mr. Fisher for donating his fine pond and forest to the folks of Vashon about a decade ago. And, thanks Mr. and Mrs Peterson - I think we had way more fun than the cows ever did.