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Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Art of Falling

The art of falling art. Really.

Over the years, I've become quite adept at falling over. In fact, in my high school, I even managed to fall UP every single flight of stairs, no matter how small. And in college, while I was only slightly less klutzy, I managed to slide down the steps from Heffron Hall, on my butt. All the way down. I'm not sure if there were witnesses or not. Most likely, if there were, they were trying to stay on their feet and had no time to worry about whether I was on mine. After all, that time, it was the ice falling from the sky in torrents that was the cause of the lack of footing!

I have learned that skiing has aided me in the art of sudden-attacks-of-sprawling-on-the-ground-without-warning. After all, one of the first lessons you learn as a skier is how to fall. And the learning curve itself causes one to crash every so often, and a good skier learns his or her proper falling side, where the fall can be controlled the best, or, if forced to land on the "bad" side, the skier learns to adapt quickly to the changing conditions.

Lately here in Minnesota, we've had a January thaw, which caused our significant snow to change back into water. While this is a glorious occurrance that has cleared INCHES of ice from the sidewalks, it has left an unfortunate and deadly after-effect.

There are certain areas in driveways, on roadways, and select spots on sidewalks and paved trails, where the water has smoothly frozen over. This is bad enough when it can be seen and avoided, or at least crossed with caution. But when it is covered over with a thin dusting of light snow, well, that's where it becomes deadly.

And that's where the art of falling comes in. You see, you have to understand WHEN to go ahead and fall, versus when to fight gravity in order to remain on your feet. It is a very delicate balance, the proper use of which can actually prevent a serious injury.

Last week as I walked down the driveway on what I thought was a "dry" spot, I found myself sliding, and recognized immediately that the battle was lost before it was begun, so went with it and landed in a kneeling position, still holding my dog's leash.

There was some dignity spared, therefore, because as far as the oncoming car using our cul-de-sac to turn around knew, I was just kneeling to tie my shoe or pet my dog. There was no obvious fall, no matter how suddenly this event had occurred. So you see, that's why this is an art form.

Today, however, was a different type of sudden event. I was, again, walking my dog (because no one in their right mind who did not HAVE to be out on these treacherous paths would be there for any other reason!). All was well, though. I was listening to my music, the dog was happily sniffing the snow banks on either side, and we were moving at a nice clip.

Until I placed my foot down through the deceptive layer of powder...too late to keep my other foot on solid ground. An odd dance commensed as I struggled to keep my feet under me, actually uing the dog's leash as a sort of wobbly anchor. Every so often her propensity to pulling saves me from some disaster. But today, it wasn't so useful. After a comedic interlude much like something one would have seen in Tom & Jerry cartoons, I realized that there was naught to do but go with gravity. And I gave up the fight in order to NOT fall backwards.

I landed on my left side, the impact of which confused the dog such that, although I had let go of the leash upon my collision with the ground, she went nowhere. In fact, she'd even left off her sniffing, which is a big deal for a German Shepherd! Athough she didn't approach me, exactly, she DID stand still and look at me curiosly, ears pricked forward, as though to ask, "What are you doing THERE!?"

Of course, as I carefully got to my feet and turned us around, her own paws were slipping on the ice. But she has the benefit of being able to walk along the edges where there is some purchase on the ground. How cleverly dogs are built, even more so than humans, to adapt to the world we have built up to accomodate us. Unfortunately, our "accomodations" often cause more harm than good even in the most simple circumstances.

So, realizing that there was more hidden ice, but I knew not exactly where, and not caring to repeat the experience lest I do finlly blow my knee out (it's a matter of time, and I'd rather it happen in a dramatic way - like in a downhill race so that there is some glory with the catastrophe), we turned around and went home.

Again, I'm not certain if there were witnesses or not, although the next person along that path will see the evidence of my fall, and hopefully avoid the same problem. God be with anyone who travels that treacherous path through the park.

One day I must summarize the different types of falls, including genus and classification, even in Latin terms for further scientific credibility.


Hidden One said...

"One day I must summarize the different types of falls, including genus and classification, even in Latin terms for further scientific credibility."

It would be quite a post.

adoro said...

Wouldn't it be? LOL!

Courageous Grace said...

You and I have klutziness in common! Yes, falling without injuring oneself is definitely an art form.

Right now I have the added bonus of being pregnant which REALLY messes with one's center of gravity. Most of my life I've managed to never seriously injure myself from falling until this October when a preggers-induced fall sent me to the ER with a badly sprained foot. So far I've fallen down the stairs twice, tripped on a shallow concrete step (that's the ER visit fall), tripped over absolutely nothing more times than I can count, tripped over the cat more times than I can count, caught my foot on new baby furniture that didn't used to be there...and half the time I try to get up from the couch I fall forward. Oh the joys ;)

Baby's due in 9 days (or whenever he decides to make his entrance) so I'll hopefully get back to my semi-balanced self

Adoro te Devote said...

CG ~ Wow! I'm thankful I'm not quite THAT klutzy...if I was, I would have died long ago! LOL! I'm sure having your center of gravity thrown off is likely the main reason for your lack of balance in current times. Maybe you'll find that having the baby will restore your equilibrium such that you'll never have a klutzy moment again!

You never know...after all, "grace" is in your name....


I actually tripped over a cord at work last night. In front of people. That was fun. Oh, and I fell off a stage during a rehearsal once. That was fun, too.

We klutzes have to stick together! (Um...or not...that MIGHT be dangerous. Like dominoes...)

God bless you and your baby!