My dreams had been especially vivid that night; serving as precursors to the possibilities of the day. Full of excitement and adventure I had only had the pleasure of reading about, they seemed to be preparing me for the experience of a lifetime, but nothing could have prepared me for that moment.
Roused by such intense anticipation, I can only imagine my alarm clock’s jealousy, for I was awake and ready to go that morning before it could even sound. My excitement stemmed from the fact that I was already 15 and had still yet to break in my ski legs; admittedly though, I felt that they were more than capable of mastering a task as simple as sliding on some snow- an overestimate I would soon regret. In fact, it wasn’t but 5 minutes after arriving at the ski resort that my entire body seemed to give an all too appropriate gulp.
The bunny slopes seemed a demeaning, yet necessary, step for me; however, seeing the repetitive fundamental practices, which consisted of softly turning, gently moving, and delicately falling, I skipped up to the courses unadvised for a person of my level of expertise: none. Standing atop the mountain, as the air filled my lungs and brushed past my cheeks, I could sense the pristine nature of the ride I was about to have. It must have been the cold temperature, because what I felt would be a flawless flight turned into a landslide of tragedy at the amusement of my parents.
Bouncing off trees, ricocheting off rocks, slipping off hills, I somehow managed to avoid a complete wipeout; although, there was a pretty impressive collision with a fellow skier, who wasn’t very happy about my imposition upon his run. Assiduous as always, I refused to give in to the adversity of the chronic mishaps, but my third excursion down the mountain was almost more than I could handle. While rounding a relatively easy turn, my skis crossed paths, sending me flying into a thicket of branches off to the edge of the course.
Picking myself up onto one ski, I scanned the small clearing I found myself in for the other, which I caught a glimpse of a few yards away. After moving across the space, my eyes, piercing through a bush, locked onto a shaky orange jacket. Concerned, I got closer and could see that the jacket belonged to a small boy, no more than eight, whose body, between the freezing cold and terror, was convulsing violently.
Panic sent a sharp chill radiating through my spine and up my neck, which expanded down my temples in an intense throbbing. My lungs, previously filled with the brisk mountain air, now only managed brief, hurried inhales of ice, contrasting with my heart, which pounded as if trying to escape from my chest. An indecisive moment accompanied by hesitation couldn’t be afforded; I knew I had to do something quickly if I was going to get this kid to safety. Pushing down sensations of uncertainty, I transferred the boy, too tired and weak to protest assistance from a stranger, from his spot nestled on the ground to slung over my shoulder.
After reattaching my ski, I commenced descending the challenging course, an endeavor greatly expedited the presence of a new found importance. I knew that every moment wasted by a careless mistake or reckless move was a moment that might be put towards saving this boy’s life. Nearly at the bottom, I was intercepted by a ski patroller on a snow jet-ski, whom I quickly explained the situation to, during which I saw worry flash across his face for just a second. The seriousness of the matter washed over him and his face quickly reverted back to a stoic purposefulness.
As the ski patroller ferried the child to the safety of the medical lodge, I could only hope that the inspirational decisiveness with which he acted was present in my actions as well. I hoped that I had done all I could, without hesitation, to help the poor little boy that was lost in the snow.
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