Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)
TITLE: Tree Well
By Karen Treharne
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Marcy crisscrossed down the mountain, soaking in the warmth of the sun and the pristine beauty of her surroundings. This was her third and final run of the day and even though she could feel the strain in her legs, she was completely unprepared for what happened next.
Without warning, Marcy found herself upside down and completely vertical with nothing in her sight except white. She wiggled around to create a little breathing space which caused a sharp pain in her chest. She yelled, but her mouth just filled with snow.
She tried to squelch the feeling of an imminent panic attack, but only succeeded in becoming angry. With the realization that she was actually buried alive, Marcy lost all hope that anyone would find her in time. She slowly lost consciousness but made one last attempt to move her legs above the snow, and gave herself up to God’s will.
As Peter Davis, a longtime member of the mountain ski patrol, plowed through the snow, he caught sight of a slight movement out of the corner of his right eye. He stopped to check it out. That’s when he realized that two legs were barely moving near a tree.
He immediately recognized that a skier had fallen into a tree well. He had to act quickly. The skier was trapped by the collapsed air pocket and would probably lose consciousness within minutes.
He kicked off his skis and pulled and dug the snow from around the skier‘s legs. He knew he would have a better chance if he another pair of hands, but since he was off duty, he had no radio to call for help and no one was within shouting distance.
Davis fought the snow that fell back into the hole almost as fast as he dug it out, but didn‘t stop. Working against the clock, he was relieved when he had dug enough to pull Marcy out. He was stunned when he saw her. There, unconscious with lips blue from the cold, was his wife.
He thought Marcy had skied down to the lift, and he chastised himself because he knew better than to let her ski alone. “God forgive me.”
Terror and alarm spurred him into action. Marcy’s jaw was clamped shut, so Pete had to give her mouth-to-nose resuscitation, praying all the while for God’s mercy that she would respond. After what seemed like an hour, he felt her shallow breathing on his cheek, and then her eyes opened. He hugged and kissed her, but didn’t waste time on words. “You’re going to be okay, honey. Don’t try to talk, just hold on.”
He rigged a makeshift stretcher to push her ahead of him down the slope. He didn’t relax until they reached the bottom and she was safely aboard an ambulance on her way to a hospital.
Even though Marcy suffered from pneumonia and was black and blue around painful ribs, she was thankful to be alive. She prayed that God would forgive her for losing hope, thanked Him for Pete’s alertness, and asked for better sense hereafter when she went skiing.
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