The Ice Dream
A Cry for Help

Frozen LakeFrozen Lake Anne, Reston Virginia 2015

I was standing in the middle of a frozen lake. I looked around me only to see nothing because the snow had made everything white and covering up any distinguishable objects. How I got there I didn't' remember but that didn't really matter, I was there. The problem was that the ice where I was standing was slowly melting. It was melting from the heat that my body was giving off. I could feel my feet slowly sinking and the cold water covering them. I knew that if I could stand perfectly still that my body temperature would go down and the ice would stop melting. But if I did that I would freeze to death. So I stood still part of the time to be cold and move part of the time to keep warm. But I still sank slowly. I thought that someone had to come upon the lake soon and save me from this. I thought how it would be. They would see me and rush out on the ice as far as they could then throw a rope which I would grab so that they could pull me out. But I knew deep inside me that if someone would come that the rope would break and I would sink below the surface before they could get another. I sank up to my waste now. The water was cold. I wondered why I still sank because as soon as the water covered up part of me I could no longer feel it. It was as if the water took all the heat out of me, leaving me frozen. But I still sank. The water was up to my shoulders when I realized that if I had walked off the ice before I started sinking I would have been safe. I thought "If…", it was too late now. As the water came to the level of my mouth I took a deep breath and the water covered me up. I realized that I couldn't see anything. The water was completely black. Then I suddenly realized that I had a long straw in my hand. I didn't know how it got there but I knew instantly what it was for. I put it to my mouth and took a deep breath. It was as if the water wanted me alive and supplied me with a means to stay alive a little longer. I wondered why, why didn't it let me die then instead of giving a small but hopeless chance to be discovered. The straw, I thought, it must reach to the surface. If only someone would see it and pull me up. I wondered how long the straw was. If only the straw was larger and had a large sign on it above the surface saying "help me". But I know it was only a small straw no bigger then a pencil which could easily be overlooked by someone passing by. I could tell I was sinking deeper because the pressure grew greater. Then the straw suddenly stopped sinking with me. I knew instantly what happened. The water at the surface froze as if it was trying to cover up my life completely and taking with it my only hope of help. I still kept sinking, I took one last breath as the straw slowly move from my mouth. I still held it in my hand but I knew I couldn't hold on much longer. If only someone would see the straw on the surface and pull me up. But why should anyone pull a straw out of the surface of a frozen lake much less even see the straw. But they had to. It was my only hope. I let go.

Larry Mixson 1974