Some might say television is the opiate of the masses. I believe that used selectively and critically it can be educational, valid, and inspiring.
On Monday I watched people frozen to save their lives. Particularly striking was the woman trapped under ice - feet up through a hole, held tight as her last link to the surface world. Head half submerged in freezing water. Slowly slowing down. Thoughts, blood, heartbeats. Losing heat, losing life. Till nothing - silence, stillness, stasis. Hours while she is dug out, held, handled, carried and flown to the most northerly hospital in the world. Then peered at, poked and monitored. Slowly warmed - welcomed back into softness and movement. Breath revisits - movement remembered - life returned.
I watch and then I turn from the screen and I think.
Only the cold saved her. We mammals need warmth to survive, but she needed cold. A step outside of the rules of nature. An inversion of how things should be. I think of the relationship between heat and cold. How one can feel like the other. How ice can burn. They are opposites. Like life to death. In one always the other.
I think of all those mottos - what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, kill or be killed, no pain no gain. I think about what is being killed. Kill the senses, kill the desires, kill the instinct to cling to the thinning thread.
And then I think about myself, and how sometimes I know how she feels. I call them my everyday winters. I have to invert myself to a reversed 45 degrees. I have to freeze out consciousness, freeze myself in. Hibernation of the mind. I have to hold my breath and close my eyes. I have to play dead. You might not notice - the signs are subtle but there. A crispness to my tone and occasional visible breath. Suspended - just till the tides of time carry me beyond today. To a place more welcoming, a place with smoother edges. A place where I begin to thaw.