The white opens its mouth and swallows me whole.
I feel along the floor of its wide belly with the bottoms of my feet and pole tips while my eyes register nothing but blinding flat whiteness.
I am a tiny feather floating above a place I no longer recognize. No sense of time or space. Weightless. Riding gentle waves of true calm.
My body turns and the wind bats it. Fumbling to recover, I spin and blur in an unknown direction.
Free fallin with my mind unhooked.
Seconds after a soft landing, my eyes still probing, I am surprised to feel the mountain behind me. When I stand, I lose my balance. Drunk dizzy. Pitching downhill, I lock my knees and clench my fists. Slam my eyes shut to make it go away.
A deep breath later the rest of my party reaches me. Our frozen lips mouth “this — scares — me” together. We tighten ranks and keep moving.
Soon enough, it’s time to laugh again.