Falling Down

There are days when I feel myself ascending. Rising above my ordinary life into a heady mixture of something that can feel a lot like joy, but might only be self satisfaction. My part of the universe is very well, thank you. I am floating around, above it all. Up with all the other smug folk, having a great day.

Then, there are the other times. Days when I am falling. Literally falling, which happened three times this winter. The first time I was out walking with my sister. I hit a slick of ice and achieved what a snowboarder calls a boost. There was a lot of air between me and the ground before I finally connected. First my head, then my back and hips. I was glad I wasn’t alone, because it stunned me. I needed help getting up. For a whole day, I walked around puzzled, possibly concussed.

The second time I fell, it didn’t hurt as much. A quick dusting off, a furtive look around, and a continuation of  my journey. The third time happened inside my house. I’d just hung a painting and was stepping back to take a look when I caught my heel on the rung of a chair and toppled backwards. It was the only time I regretted putting in hardwood floors.

It’s not the pain. It’s the humiliation. This, my new sports slogan, also works for the ordinary fray of people who fall down. If walking can be considered a sport, (and it can) then I’m not a klutz. I’m an injured athlete.

I have also fallen down on the job. Oh, the futility of shoveling muck as a summer student at HudBay. The pile never seemed to lessen. There were moments when I questioned my need to exist. I would sneak off to the bathroom, where it was warm, and ponder a little. Newly restored, I would remind myself about the great pay which, indeed, took me right through university.

I tend to forget appointments. I’ve missed some great nights out because of Netflix binging. Forgotten to pray for someone at a specific time because I was caught up in the bizarre reality show of American politics. In each instance I felt myself slipping, like the universe had tilted a little and I hadn’t been able to stick the landing.  I UN-velcroed. I fell. We all do. We fall and fall and fall. Into Facebook. Into heartache. Into messes that we make into bigger messes through the erroneous use of imagination or bad decisions.

But then we get up. We dust ourselves off and make sure our parts are in working order. We carry on. Sometimes, with the perfect kind of boost, we rise into a magical day. Propelled into joy filled clouds, we high five each other about the great view. Ice sure looks pretty from up there.

Those moments sustains us for the journey forward. Because, for sure we will fall down again. When we do, we should relax. Let the road hold us for a moment. We are down, but we are looking up.  We take the hand that’s offered, that pulls us back on our feet. It isn’t so bad, really. And the sky looks beautiful from there.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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