Wednesday, 8 September 2010
The Silver Lining in the Grey Cloud...
Huge pellets of snow began to fall all around them.
"We have to turn back,"Andy shouted to the rest of the group.
It was at that moment that Angela lost sight of them.
"Andy! Pete! Lorna! Jess!" she called.
Angela came to a halt and looked around but she couldn't see anything. There were giant snow flakes everywhere and they were coming down so fast and hard as if someone was tipping a bucket of snow in the sky.
Angela started skiing again and suddenly she felt her skis hit a huge boulder that was hidden under the snow and her body went flying.
A few hours before
Angela didn't know why she had let her friends talk her into going on this ski trip in the French Alps.
She hated skating so there was little chance she would enjoy skiing.
Never mind all the falling she would have to endure.
But then, Andy was going, so that was an incentive for her to go along as well.
Maybe this trip would be a chance for him to get to notice her.
Everyone else was quite experienced except Angela and it wasn't long before she started slipping and falling.
"I can't do this," she exclaimed after her fourth attempt.
"C'mon Ange, don't give up now. We all started out just like you. In fact I was probably worse than you right now."
"Somehow I find that hard to believe," Angela said as she watched Andy manoeuvre his skis expertly like the people she used to see on TV.
“It's not that hard. What you need to do is use the Snow Plow. Position your skis as if they were a pigeon toe and slowly move the backs of your skis outwards, away from your body, to stop yourself. You also can control your direction of movement by simply bending your knees and leaning to one side or the other,” Andy said.
“So I have to bend my knees, keep my hands above my thighs and the tips of the skis have to be close together?” Angela asked.
“That’s right. Kind of like an up-side down V shape.”
As they slowly started skiing slowly down the slope, it started snowing.
After Andy's instruction, Angela fared a little better but she started lagging behind the rest of the group. Huge pellets of snow began to fall as the snow storm progressed.
"We have to turn back,"Andy called to the rest of the group.
They all went round a bend and it was then that Angela lost sight of them.
"Andy! Pete! Mike! Jess!" she called.
Angela came to a halt and tried to look around but she couldn't see anything.
She started skiing again and suddenly she felt her skis hit a huge boulder that was hidden under the snow and her body went flying, her backpack landing on her arm.
Angela felt immense pain in her leg and it was then she realised she couldn't move. Maybe she had broken a bone or something.
The pain was excruciating.
Her vision was getting hazy and she could feel her whole body trembling uncontrollably as fear and cold ravaged it. She pulled her scarf tighter around herself.
She managed to drag herself on her stomach to a huge ledge which helped shield some of the snow. But at this rate she knew she wouldn't survive more than a couple of hours in the snow storm.
She called out again but there was no reply. Only the small eerie echo that seemed to taunt and remind her of her dire need to survive.
"Lord, please don't let me die out here," she prayed softly.
Minutes passed, though they seemed like days. The wind bellowed and the giant trees swayed threatening to fall on top of her. The icy coldness stung her fingers and toes, mocking her last bit of sanity.
Each minute that went by was as precious as gold. Except for her breathing, there was no sign of life and hers seemed to ebbing away slowly.
Then she decided to reach for her rucksack so that she could get the chocolate bar she had in there to give her a bit of comfort and strength. As she reached for it, she lost her balance and knocked the the ruck sack from where it had landed.
Angela watched as the rucksack fell down the slope disappearing out of sight, with it, her chocolate, flashlight, bottle of water, map, compass, flares and any hope of her survival.
She couldn't hold back the tears.
Lord that was all I had left...if you're gonna kill me why didn't you at least let me enjoy the chocolate?
Frustration overwhelmed her. She began to wail.
Anyone listening would have thought it was a hyena caught in a trap, in great pain.
After a while the snow fall subsided.
Angela lay in pain waiting. For anything.
A rustling and twig breaking close by.
What was that?
Angela listened closely.
She wasn't sure whether she was dreaming or if it was real.
She wondered if she should shout? What if it was a bear or some other animal?
Did they even have bears in this part of the world? C'mon focus, this wasn't the time to play Animal Habitats.
Maybe she should keep quiet.
But what if it was someone looking for her.
"Angela, thank God you're alright."
"I'm so glad to see you guys. I thought I was gonna die out here. How did you find me?"
"We looked everywhere for you and we couldn't find you and we were about to give up. Then believe it or not, your rucksack fell and landed on Jess. We started walking in the direction the ruck sack had come from and as we approached this area we heard you crying.Thank goodness we found you before it was too late."
Relief swept over Angela and she couldn't help but thank God.
It was then that she realised, that although losing her backpack had seemed like a terrible thing at the time, it was the very thing that God had used to save her life.