Having just written “Life is sweet” in my journal, I got up to go inside and tripped over the back leg of the Adirondack chair. Literally “hit the deck” and got up with scraped skin on my right forearm and left elbow, a stubbed toe and a bruised knee. A reminder from the world that it’s fine to celebrate a benevolent universe, but watch where you’re going.
A month or so ago, I fell down from my standing bike and again, earlier in Italy. Luckily in all cases, no broken bones or permanent damage, but the sense that these could be coming attractions for the years that lie ahead. How often we hear of elders falling and it’s not a happy thing. For one thing, ground is hard. Especially human-made surfaces like concrete, linoleum, wood. Sand or soft earth is kinder. For another, our aging bodies are brittle.
Yet another affirmation of the cycle of life. From baby diapers to adult diapers, from helplessness of one sort dependent on others for care — being washed, spoon-fed, etc.—to the same, to music being the preferred language over words. The toddler beginning to walk tottering and falling and the elder replaying that drama, with much more dire consequences.
The evolutionary move to bi-pedalism made all the difference in the world to our species. It freed our hands to fashion tools and create technologies imagined in our advancing neo-cortex layer of the brain. At the same time, it moved us further away from the sensuous earth and narrowed us to talking heads on TV. Perhaps our falling is the earth’s invitation to lower down again, to give in to gravity and get out of our heads. That’s my generous view of the matter.
But still, it hurts!