Learning how to fall

cottage sunset

I’ve been standing here for almost 22 years, on the edge of this dock staring at the water. When I was little, someone would be standing at the end to catch me. With little floatie wings I’d jump, arms and legs flailing, trustingly towards outstretched arms. When I was a little older, I would run the length. Panels of wood would disappear under my bare feet. Careful not to trip, I would jump in with a determined, triumphant splash.

As I grew older I spent more time on the dock and less in the water. Now I stand on the edge. The setting sun paints the water a golden pink. The still, hot day makes the water calm and inviting. I want to be in the water, I’ve already decided to swim. I don’t want to be standing on the dock in my ridiculous bargain polka dot bathing suit, my hair hastily pulled from a French braid, frizzy and shapeless. And yet every time I take a step forward I find myself hesitating. I try to think of the cool water against my hot skin, or the freedom from the bugs swarming around my head, and yet I still stand. Waiting.

“Aren’t you afraid to fall?” I ask my sister. Terrified of heights and prone to falling from my short 5′3″, I’ve never quite understood her desire to be several feet taller, on stilts, and then proceed to do tricks.

“Why should I be? I stilt as if I can’t fall,” she answers.

I wish I could live life that way, I thought. Unafraid to fall or to jump.


  • By Sebastian, August 18, 2009 @ 9:37 am

    Wondering how deeply coated with analogy and context this is… or maybe it’s just a straight-up, honest-to-God venting of concern.

    Apparently sky diving is the most stressful thing that humans can do. I don’t think ‘falling’ is necessarily something you should WANT to be able to do all of the time. As long as you fall at the right times.

    It’s not bad to be afraid of falling!

  • By Faebala, August 18, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

    You jump, I jump!

  • By Faebala, August 18, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

    Shoot for the moon - if you miss, you’ll still land among the stars!

  • By Faebala, August 18, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

    Some more inspirational quotes!

  • By Faebala, August 18, 2009 @ 9:46 pm


  • By Faebala, August 18, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

    “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” says Blogger. hahahaha.

  • By Lea, August 19, 2009 @ 2:14 am

    Doooooo iiiiiiiiiiit!

  • By Mike, August 20, 2009 @ 10:15 am

    When you are young, jumping is easier because nothing ever happened to you when you did. You don’t know what can happen because someone else removes the risk.
    When you are older you have the extra baggage of choice, repercussions, doubt and sometimes the pain and loneliness of a wrong decision.
    As to having someone to share the risk with, sometimes that makes it harder rather than easier.

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