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Under Ice

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

Tiny ice skaters amongst big mountains

Throughout most of my childhood I had recurring nightmares of drowning under ice. I never died in the dreams though Always just floated there beneath the surface. Quietly frantic Scared but silenced While I looked up at the people I knew going about unknowingly on a large ship Just beyond me Headed for the manicured lawn of my childhood home

Just days before Luke’s passing I went ice skating on a frozen lake for the first time Fear surged through the neurons that lived that dream over and over But then the freedom, oh man, the freedom that I felt gliding over that ice and feeling the twump of its belly echoing in the deep pit of my stomach. The ice is alive. And so am I. Effortlessly carving my way across the frozen glistening water and breathing in the cold air that ripped past the tiny dot of me in this gigantic glaciated environment. I felt impossibly small and infinitely large at the same time. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as the joy surged through me.

The difference between the way I felt in the dream and the way I felt in this reality had nothing to do with the ice. It had everything to do with the change in me.

I didn’t know the significance of that moment at the time, but looking at this photograph has poured open a story. About how the recent losses in my life have cracked the tranquil crystal surface wide open. And welcomed the waters. The swallow and the engulf is terrifying But I’m wiser than I was 20+ years ago living out the silent searching fears of my childhood. Why had I always just stared up, through the thick cloudy sheet of ice? There remained an iceberg beneath, that in my desperation to be found I never even noticed. I wasn’t dying I was needing to go deeper. This crack in the ice invites me into the most difficult plunge yet. I have no illusion that what lies beneath the surface is bigger than I can know now. But I’m supposed to go, we’re meant to go, beyond where we came from Away from that clouded surface and the ship headed towards the grassy lawn. There’s another world to see Look down and swim.


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