Saturday, 14 January 2012

Bear Grylls Saved My Life

On our way through snow-capped lands

The snow has been gathering on the roof of our cottage, and it was necessary to alleviate its load before the ceiling caved in and left us with a very large, superfluously-placed skylight. Father, mother, and I drove into the woods to the house and found we had to march through four feet of powder to get to the doorstep and then another length across the yard to the tool shed to find the shovels and finally to get the ladder. Father and I climbed onto the roof and gripped our shovels and got down to the stuff of life by throwing snow off the roof in persistent swings. The first hour of the three spent was wonderful. A silent forest in the grip of white winter and not a bird to stir the air.

At one point in time, my swing was a bit enthusiastic, and I shoveled the shovel right off the roof. It landed on the ground on the other side of the house. Mother handed me another one from below and set off to retrieve the wayward tool. I could see nothing of her progress--she was making her way around one side of the building where we had parked our summer car, now buried in snow--her voice barely carried over the housetop, her words muffled into one unintelligible expression. Suddenly her voice grew shrill and she was saying something something something SOMETHING! She was in a fix that she sorted out after a bit of digging. She told us afterwards she had stepped into loose snow and fallen through until she was stuck with snow up to her chest. As it was, she made her way out, switched directions, and crawled through more snow to fetch the shovel.

I had a close call myself. Pushing layered snow off a tin-tiled roof is not necessarily without risk, and, as was inevitable, I began to slide. It wouldn't have been a great fall. I would have ended up in a snowbank, if it had not been for the extraordinary survival skills I have learned from Bear Grylls. I dug my toes into the incline and lay my shovel flat in front of me to make a handhold and moved forward in measured steps. This might be the only time I will ever use television-acquired trivia to sort my way out of trouble.

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