September 2, 2008
By Erin Albert, Miami Beach, FL

As I wake-up and open my iced-over eye lids, I try to figure out where I am and what I am doing. I sit up and realize that my feet, ears and nose are completely numb and I am lying on a snow covered plain. I am not sure what is going on and I find it very difficult to move an inch of my frozen aching body. After a couple of minutes, I try to stand up and after several failed attempts, I realize that I need to get my blood flowing again and I must find some water or food.
I find some trees that have been attacked by the cancerous cells of winter. Leaves that have long fallen off the rotting branches of the trees form an awkward path. The leaves have dark veins on their cardboard brown texture... veins much resembling those on my slowly ceasing heart. As I walk, I cannot escape the constant crunching under my feet from the thousands of decaying and dissolving pieces of nature.
I have walked for G-d knows how long. I still have not seen an ounce of light, neither from the sun not the moon. My body is still covered in ice, but I am pretty sure that I have felt my stomach growl a few times. Finally, I slowly pick a remnant of fall. I cannot smell it, but I know it has a different scent than the snow that surrounds me. I take a bite of the leaf, it tastes numb against my frost bitten tongue, only its smooth and crispy feel reach the nerves of my finger tips. The hard sharp pieces of the leaf in my mouth hurt and sting as the pry open the doors of feeling. However, the ability to sense my tongue against the walls of my mouth is worth the agony; and the "feeling" of something filling my stomach is grand.
I continue looking for water and game, but for now, I just stuff the leaves in my mouth until it feels as though someone has set off some fire crackers in my intestines. The pain in my stomach and the weariness from trudging in inches and inches of snow is pushing me to the brink of sleep. I still have not found anything besides useless snow and the depressing reminders of nature's downfall. My body is giving up, and I feel as though the rest of my life will be spent wandering among the cold and gloomy white and brown colors of winter.

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