In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Under the Snow.”
What thoughts is it that make people have the strength to survive something as catastrophic as being buried in an avalanche? My only experience that comes close to having shed any light was when as a child I jumped off of the 2nd floor roof (and later the garage roof because sometimes you have to test a practical lesson that you already experienced.). It had snowed a good deal the night before and ALL day long and we had to shovel off the roofs. Lo and behold no one bothered to figure out that I was shorter than the snow was tall. SO I sunk down into the snow and nothing could move- not my arms or legs, torso. I didn’t think of the threat of suffocating but I did think of breathing out the carbon molecules Now I had daylight above my head and I knew because I could lift up my chin enough to see it was lighter than the dark white surrounding me. So I thought breathe into the snow thinking the tiny ice crystals in the snow would have room between them for the exhaled air to go and for the snow to melt into water and hopefully release some oxygen in the process. Now that was the reality of what I thought. I didn’t feel panicked and I knew someone would be along any minute having seen me go off of the roof… But would they find me in all the snow and in the windy snowstorm whiting out everything. Which was silly as we lived in a little town not in a grand expanse.
Now an avalanche is another issue obviously. I think I would first tell myself to remember that someone would search for me and to have faith that one of those wonderful search and rescue dogs would surely come to my rescue. This would be crucial as I firmly believe that the key to surviving anything is to know deep down within yourself that you will. Faith unshakable in the knowledge that you will overcome whatever is standing between where they are and where they need to be to be out of danger. That being said I would listen closely for any sounds that may indicate someone is nearby…at which point I would yell my head off.
Perhaps I would think of times and people gone by, or those I may meet again soon if not rescued soon. I think though most of my thoughts and energies would be directed at clearing out enough of an area to have an air pocket and perhaps a slight pocket lining along my torso and limbs in order to not be crushed further by the incredible weight. I’m thinking I would likely not be alone wherever I was, and would be trying to call in hopes they were nearby enough to hear me and know that they weren’t totally alone. I’d be worried about any dogs (which I’d likely have there) praying that they be spared and not be suffering lost somewhere. If I heard any response and could determine a direction, I would try to make a lateral move (breathstroke style) to reach another person or animal. Of course I don’t know the likelihood of that even being possible but a thought. I’d remind myself if things were getting bleak that I need to try to stay awake for as long as I can and then just a little longer. If by a strange chance I had pen and paper in my pockets I’d write a note to those I love- general but heartfelt telling them I have not suffered and that they made my life worth living and we would see each other again. If I had a lighter I would light it from time to time to melt a little more space and to try to sip up a bit of water. I would be doing isometrics with flexing and extensor muscle movement to keep circulation moving to limbs and to try to create some body heat and stay awake. All in all I would have to think what a ride! WHo would think I’d have survived even as long as I have. I’d think of those I love and what I’d tell them of this experience after returning to safety. Truth be told we never do know what we would do in a crisis until we are in one