Under The Ice

The Poverty line is like the ice on a large lake. The first few times you fall through you can use your belongings to get yourself a temporary lifeline.

But year by grinding year of poverty can leave you living under the ice forever, searching in vain for a way back into the life of plenty you can see in forms and shadows through the ice above you. A life relived in brief surreal memories.

Eventually you give up the hope of ever being able to create a way out from under the ice. Depression, Despair, Apathy, become your companions and your anchors. Freedom of spirit and body become elusive forgotten goals. You wander from one air bubble to the next, barely surviving.

Many of the people who have lived their entire lives above the ice try to pretend that the forms and shadows they see under the ice are not real people. Real people like themselves with dreams, talents and aspirations. Because if they accept as equals the people under the ice, they are faced with the reality that they, too, could fall under the ice. This idea is too threatening for many people. To avoid the thought that they, too, could get caught beneath the ice, the deny the humanity of those already trapped there.

Escape from the ice world often requires the help of others. My own slow extrication has been helped by many people from both sides of the ice barrier, but especially from those beneath.

My association with the people at Street Life Art Gallery, StreetWrites, and Real Change have not only helped me to work my way out from under the ice myself, but to help to build a road out from under the ice that others may also use.

Remember to reach out a hand to help your fellow humans. Whenever one person looks down on another as being less worthy of life, a little piece of humanity is lost by them both.

© 4 November 1998 Reneene Robertson, Gold Bar, WA 98251

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