A once in a lifetime experience–a dangerous accident on a mountain in 2014–left an indelible mark on me and made me question some of my fundamental underpinnings. And I wanted to write about it, explore it. Now the story is in the new edition of Cirque Journal.
Here is an excerpt, from “Through the Floor” telling what happened a few seconds after I decided to give up on snowshoeing in a blizzard:
. . . A few more steps down the east side of the knoll and I reached the firmer snowpack of the trail. I turned right and lengthened my stride, keeping track of thin reddish trail markers jutting up every so often through the whiteness. I wished they were closer together, but I was pretty sure I could stay on the trail. My thoughts shifted indoors—maybe I’d get out my sketch pad, fix a cup of tea.
Then without warning, I felt a funny yielding. Not just different, wrong. My stomach thought faster than my mind, clenching in alarm. A second later, my left foot was standing on . . . nothing. In disbelieving horror I watched the path in front of me come apart—all slow motion and soft sounds, the surface ripping zigzag, inch by inch ahead. Like the very earth opening to swallow me. Further shocked that I could watch this instead of being overtaken by the blind chaos of a tumbling fall, I thought I must be dreaming. But no, my right foot was still on the ripped edge of the trail even as the snow under my left foot slid outward from under me. Like the moment a person with one foot on the dock and the other on the moving boat realizes she can no longer jump to one or the other. My arms flung out, still clutching poles. Helpless to make any other response I sank, all but my right leg, in exquisite slow motion, remaining surreally upright. Rising into my view was the old trail surface, my right foot still attached to it, while below a crevasse-like cleft appeared, all newness creating itself in perfect pace and tandem with my descent.
For more, Cirque Journal is at http://www.cirquejournal.com/index.php.