When I hit the ground, I was abruptly aware of my place in the universe. On my hands and knees, having just found the curb with the tip of my left foot. Daniel Day Lewis allusions aside, I was grateful for the fact that I had made it to the other side of the street before pitching forward and landing in a heap.
This was my first level of recognition. I was happy not to be looking up
into the grill of an oncoming car. Turning my head slightly to the
right, I saw hubcaps, rolling to a stop. At this point, I tried to
decide if I would be more comforted by the attentions of a stranger, or
Because that's what I was: embarrassed. I had yet to examine my
extremities for breaks or tears, but I knew that I felt foolish. All
that swagger I had enjoyed just a few steps before about being in such
great shape for a guy my age was gone. A guy my age? I was suddenly
reminded of the recent tumble my mother had taken in the ice and snow of
the Rocky Mountain winter. I heard about that one from my older
brother. What self-respecting adult wants to call up and confess that
they fell down and went boom?
This turned me back to the matter at hand, or in this case, knee. Though
my outstretched hands had taken the brunt of the impact, my right knee
was stinging, and I had a sense that if there was no blood, there would
be. Another Daniel Day Lewis moment. When at last I turned over to sit
on the sidewalk, I could see the layer of skin that had been chewed off
by the unfriendly conjunction with gravity and concrete.
Now my mind went in a different direction. I thought about the kids I
pick up from their tumbles on the playground. Knees are almost always
the first casualty. If there is any kind of scrape, the tears come hot
and heavy. Then it's a trip to the office for cleanup and a band aid. I
was a couple miles and forty-some years removed from that experience, so
I rolled back over and got to my feet. I decided to push on, ignoring
the sticky warm trickle I felt making its way down my shin. I would run
on home, with the satisfaction of having heroically survived this Fall
On Outstretched Hands.