Skating on the thinnest ice imaginable I didn't care nor did I realize what I'd do if I were to fall into the chilly waters below. I remember watching Man vs. Wild, with Bear Grills jumping into ice cold water, he was testing out his body under the cold shock, and he swam for a while, and couldn't really imagine that being useful for survival. I remember taking a trip up to Northbay once, and a friend of mine decided to jump into the water, completely naked, it was early December, snow everywhere, not the type of weather to be naked nor getting into any water, but there he was, first his toes, then his legs, hand still cupping his boys and then splash. He made all types of sounds, sounds I hadn't heard from him before, he was suffering, he let out more man grunts and we both watched from above as he struggled to submerge himself. Later he told me that seconds to us, watching him from above felt like minutes, hours even, was it that cold that time itself froze in those waters. Perhaps to something not used to it. When I think of time now, not skating on thin ice, but just waiting, sitting, reading, writing, living my life, waiting, how used to it am I, for time itself seems to have slowed down, unbearably so. Waiting, waiting for something.
I stopped skating, took off my skates, and walked back to camp. There I was frozen, waiting for the fire to grow large enough to throw my entire body on to, that sounded like paradise right about then. I rolled up a joint and occurred my time spacing out, watching the fire dance before me, thinking of all types of things. Out here, alone, it felt nice, at first when I was being dropped off, the radio on in the truck, the driver speaking, made the sudden drop out from civilization feel awfully isolating when he finally left me. Now that feeling was replaced with peace, time slowed down, but bearable. The pink of the sky, the blue of the snow around, the simplicity of land and sky, unobstructed, endlessly, I could die somewhere here I thought, but death would not come to me for a while, I don't think I earned it yet. After the last puffs of pot left my lungs I was beginning to feel all good inside. The fire was perfect, perfectly warming me up, and my tent, lined with mounts of fur, and inside was cozy as hell. To have a woman out here, right here, right now would be fantastic, I pictured me telling her things like, "Looks like we're going to have to warm each other up." I'd shoot her off some hungry looking eyes and she'd give me some i.r.f. eyes and we'd just go at it, surrounded by fur, animals! We could live happily out there, there was a fair amount to eat if you knew how to go about doing it. I had a hatchet, a rifle, a pipe, a hook, some line, a knife, a will, an iron will, and I had a lady to impress. Coming home with a deer or a line of rabbits on my shoulder, a proper beard on my face, with some flannel over my chest, a beanie, and eyes that pierced the soul. All types of images conjured up and before I realized it I was hungry, high, and getting sleepy.
When I woke it must have been sometime around three or four o'clock in the morning, a person was sitting by my fire outside my tent. He looked endlessly into the fire. I watched him for a while, not sure if it was real or not. Eventually I'd get some heavy clothes on and exit the tent. Approaching him he did not move one bit, just kept on looking at that dancing fire. I sat beside him and pulled a blanket over him, he was only wearing a business suit, and yet wasn't trembling at all. A faint, "thankyou", came out of him, I wasn't sure if it was some bird flying above or if he was actually addressing me. His hair was slicked back, it was gelled and I couldn't tell if it was frozen or just stuck like that. He looked about his mid-twenties, and when I asked him what he was doing all the way out here, why he wasn't wearing something warm he just said, "uh...uh...uhhhhh. bah-bah-bammmm".
"In english, please."
"Sent here, but who?"
"You must be mistaken, I came out here on my own merit, no one telling me to come freeze my ass off."
"Fine. By who sent the both of us out here."
Silence fell over the both of us, I could tell he wasn't one for words, and I didn't feel like talking to someone who made no sense. I liked him more when he was just staring into that fire, not talking, not making any sense but not making any nonsense either. I thought about how I got here, I decided to come out here, I planned this trip for weeks, and finally got the time to get out here. I was happy to leave, I was really getting sick of the city, the life, I needed a break. No one sent me here. At least directly. But I felt something stirred up in me, something loosen, and it was itching to be picked at, but something told me not to. It glowed a bright white, almost blinding, it was eclipsed by something blocking it, a door, it called to me, to be opened, but I was afraid. Let's just say that light is the truth, and perhaps somewhere deep down inside of me knew exactly what was waiting for me. I knew I was running away from something, but never did I realize I was being sent somewhere, by something, that isn't here, that is there, waiting for me back home, and that same thing was the thing that drove that guido-looking fella out here too. I just thanked the stars I wasn't sent here without notice, he looked like he was in some club downtown when all of a sudden this thing sent him hurling in the tundra. He was still looking deep into that fire, his eyes marked some great sign of despair, he was lost.
"Hey, what's your name, kid?"
"The gent, huh. I'm Survivorman."
No response. I thought he'd be taken by surprise like most people who discover who I am, but he wasn't with us anymore. Off on planet Greg the Gent, I was orbiting him at most, watching him, without him noticing me. I cleared out some of the camera equipment from the tent, mustered up some form of blanket and pillow and invited Greg in. Waving my hand in invitation he followed, hunched over with that blanket still over him, for the first time ever Greg started to look cold. His hand brushed my arm, and I realized he was frozen to the touch. When Greg was inside, I closed the tent, I threw my sleeping bag over him and made him look like a fur/fabric burrito mix with his head poking out. I knew if he didn't get warm soon he'd probably die before rescue could come around. I started to shiver when he started to cry, or rather, when tears rolled themselves out of his eye sockets. I wasn't sure if he was in pain or was just sad, either way I gave the kid a hug, a bear hug. Sometimes its the touch of another human being to make you feel like you're not alone for a moment. My arm grew wet with tears, and I felt something inside me again. That glowing light again. Blinding as ever. That door pulsed, the light seemed to be brighter than before. I couldn't look away. I wanted to douse it with water, pour it out like a campfire not needed anymore, but there wasn't enough water in the world to exhaust this light. Only one way about it. I touched the door, it was flesh-like and woody at the same time, some sort of hybrid texture, I moved my fingers across it looking for a handle, and when they reached one it burned to the touch. I didn't care, I had been branded before, there is a way to ignore the pain of being burned, and I pulled back with one mighty swing. Light flooded everything, and was no longer just inside of me but encompassing the entire tent, then outside of the tent, and the fire, and the frozen ground that the fire and tent lied on, and then everything, white, bright, glow.
Somewhere in all that I was still holding Greg, crying myself, or rather tears rolling themselves out of my eye sockets, and I knew right then and there that I was sent here the same as Greg, not knowing why, nor where we were exactly. The only difference between us is that I was pretty prepared.
Morning came, and I made us both some coffee and sausages. Greg seemed to be back to whatever his regular self was. He fist pumped to get his arms back into gear, and if he could leg pump he would've done that too, but instead he just stretched out. We both looked on and watched the sunrise.
"Isn't it something, Greg the Gent?"
Kinda made it worth it, whatever drove us out here, whatever and wherever we left wasn't this, it wasn't peaceful, tranquil, endless, majestic, mysterious, timeless, enchanting, and and and...