Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)
TITLE: Rescue on Calico Mountain
By Debbie Roome
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â€śCome on, Jamie.â€ť I called. â€śWe need to keep going. Need to see if anyone needs help on the other side.â€ť We straightened our back packs and set off again, boots crunching crisply underfoot. I knew the way as Dad had taken us there several times in the summer. â€śI canâ€™t wait to see Lake Wilson in the snow.â€ť I shouted over my shoulder. â€śDad says itâ€™s amazing.â€ť
The sun was rising as we crested Calico Mountain; melting trails of golden light, drizzled like syrup over vanilla ice-cream. The lake picked up the rays and shone like polished glass.
â€śWow.â€ť Jamie was as impressed as I was. â€śLetâ€™s have a rest, Luke.â€ť He pulled off his back pack and I followed. Being thirteen, I had more stamina but had to admit I was tired too. I tossed him some chocolate and we munched away, enjoying the shifting colours of the sunrise.
â€śDadâ€™s so lucky to work out here.â€ť Jamieâ€™s words were muffled through a sticky mouthful.
â€śHe is.â€ť I agreed. â€śI want to be a guide and rescuer, just like him.â€ť
Jamie nodded as my thoughts turned to Dad. He was a born adventurer and had always worked in the outdoors. Often he would go deep into the mountains and return with tales of helicopters and rescues and men and women of great courage. I longed to go with him but he always refused.
â€śYouâ€™re too young, Luke. Your bodyâ€™s not strong enough yet. The mountains may seem harmless but they can be treacherous. When youâ€™re older Iâ€™ll take you out with me.â€ť
I stretched my legs and pulled myself up. â€śLetâ€™s go, Jamie.â€ť
The accident happened as we started our descent down the mountain. Jamie stepped on a slippery patch of ice and went crashing down the slope, careening over frozen humps until he finally slammed into a tall pine tree.
â€śJamie! Jamie!â€ť I scrambled down the mountain, heart thumping against my ribs. â€śJamie! Are you alright?â€ť I clawed at the snow, desperate to see if he was in one piece.
â€śMy leg. My leg hurts.â€ť
He was alive. I brushed the snow from his face and saw a frightened little boy, skin pallid against a halo of white. What had I done? I should never have come out here. Should never have tried to prove that I was stronger than the mountains.
â€śGo get Dad. Please Luke.â€ť
My thoughts snapped to attention. There wasnâ€™t a person in sight and our parents thought we were asleep in bed. I would have to go back. I upended my back pack. Chocolate, bottled water, torch and batteries, matches and a space blanket. At least I had brought something of use. I unpacked the thin foil sheet and carefully cocooned Jamie like a giant caterpillar, even tucking it round his ears. I didnâ€™t know what else to do. I had fallen from great mountain explorer to frightened teenager.
It took me ninety minutes to get home and with burning cheeks, frozen fingers and chapped lips I stumbled into the house. Dad grasped the situation immediately, barking orders down the phone, gathering equipment and dressing in layers of thermals and wool. â€śYouâ€™ll have to come with us, Luke. We need you to show us where Jamie is.â€ť
I felt like a fool as the adults tramped through the snow with me. I was no better than the tourists we always laughed at. The ones who came unprepared and ended up being rescued. The feeling intensified when we reached Jamie. As I saw his frozen features and heard the quiet sobs as they winched him into the helicopter.
I laid my hand on Dadâ€™s arm. â€śIâ€™m sorry, Dad. I thought I was tough enough to be a rescuer like you.â€ť
Dadâ€™s face was stern. â€śYouâ€™ve made a foolish mistake, Son.â€ť I nodded as his face softened. â€śBut I think you have the potential to be a great rescuer.â€ť He gestured towards the men and women behind him. â€śThereâ€™s not one of us here who hasnâ€™t made mistakes. Itâ€™s a process weâ€™ve had to go through. A learning curve that takes time. â€ś
I nodded again as he wrapped his arm round my shoulders. â€śWeâ€™ll talk some more later but right now thereâ€™s space for two more in the chopper. Coming?â€ť
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