Posts Tagged ‘falling’

Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
            —Mary Oliver, “It Was Early”
There is no lovely way to put this.
It was sleeting. I am not going to tell you
how the gray sky unfolded like a somber rose,
how the misty air softened every dark
and barren thing. It was sleeting.
And slick. And when I fell, it hurt.
A lot. But I got up. I got up.  

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For two hours, I am
more lung than thought,
more legs than loss,
more heart beat
than heart ache,
and so holy alive
as I become rhythm
of push and glide,
push and glide,
pole and swing,
I transform into
a flying thing—
each shift from ski
to sliding ski
a calling on balance
that comes from
the core.
By the time
I ski back to the car,
it’s not that I have forgotten
my loss, it’s just
that every cell in me
now remembers
the dance between
falling and recovery,
falling and recovery—
how it happens
again and again—
how this is the way
we recalibrate
we fall, we recover,
we move forward.

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And there, in the center
of summer, in the center
of the city, surrounded
by high rises and highways,
the boy and the girl who have fallen
in love learn to ice skate—
they glide, haltingly, in circles,
barely managing to stay upright,
but there are some things
that sweet determination
can conquer. Look at them,
learning to move in new ways,
holding on to each other to stay up,
practicing trust even as,
all around them, the world
practices how to fall down.

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Sometimes when I fall long enough,
I stop hoping I will stop falling.
In those moments, when I no longer
wish for the wings of an answer,
or for the solid ground of resolution,
such beautiful surrender
in the dropping through space,
in submitting to the weight
of what it takes to hold a soul.

I wonder if Icarus felt it, too. Perhaps,
if only for a moment, he knew
the rush of air, the thrill of not trying
to inhibit the tumble, the gift of knowing
self as free fall, the skill of giving in,
every prayer coming out as sound of wind.

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This longing to get it right—
to not only find the right path
but to walk it with grace,
without stalling, without stumbling.
But the forest is dark and deep
and the paths are many—
and I fall, and in falling,
I stop.
So this is what it takes
to notice the beauty of being still,
to see how staying in place, too, is a path,
how falling, too, is a grace.
How much easier it is to walk now
when I trust any path I’m on is the right one,
even this one where I fall,
even this one when I don’t move at all.

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Stepping off the edge
I began to learn falling
as I would learn to speak
another tongue—
confused at first,
but now the thrill
as I notice
how the new
airy syntax
and unbound grammar
have changed
about the way I think,
about the way
I love.

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I invite you to fall down. Fall down to the earth.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, “Darkness is Asking to Be Loved,” Lion’s Roar



Today, I am fallen tree.

I am deadwood.

Surrender. I am



Today is a day to know

what it is to fall,

to be felled, to stay fallen.

To say nothing.


Today I am grateful

for gravity that insists,

Don’t try. I don’t try.

I lose any certainty


of where my body ends,

where earth begins,
lose myself in dark, loamy scent

of disturbed and open dirt.


There will be a day

to rise, to stand, to grow

new leaves that gather shine,

to share. But today is a day


to lie on the ground

and lean into loss,

say yes to confusion.

to be torn apart, to listen,


to know the only way

to start again is from here.





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After all these years of falling, falling,

terrified of my own weight, terrified

of gravity, after all these years of dropping

through the sky, through all these fears

of not good enough, certain I will crash,

I will die, I find myself now wearing

a great white parachute that appeared

as if I were dreaming, to save me.


After all these years harnessed only to fear,

I land gently, as if on a flat green lawn.

And I’m not just safe, I’m smiling.

I try to reason it logically: Air resistance

with a chute is greater than gravity.

But there is no logic here. How

did the parachute appear? I

didn’t even ask to be saved. Here I am,

good enough, two feet on the ground.

After years and years of falling,

I’m okay. I’m wildly okay.

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I followed the road as if it were a teacher.

It went up, I went up. It turned, I turned.

It was a long time before I relearned

that the road is not the only way to go.

The first day I walked away from the gravel,

I fell. That was the day I learned

staying upright is not what’s most important.

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Caught in the Act

Let’s say you’re carrying a priceless bowl

overflowing with fruits and flowers,

and let’s say you’re balancing it on your head.

And let’s say you’re on a high wire.

And let’s say the wire is above the falls.

And let’s say it’s electrical.

And let’s say it’s about to come unplugged.

Let’s say you’re in the middle.

What is it that inspires you

to do these crazy things?

Regardless, Now’d be the right time to learn

how to use those enormous wings,

those wings you’ve pretended not to have—

that you hid because, who knows why?

We all fall sometime from the high wire act,

but some of us learn to fly.

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