A little slip, a big fall

And at times, I do not pay attention. Perhaps I am distracted, daydreaming, a little more tired at the end of the day or I have the slightest fever which weakens me just enough. I am transferring “in my sleep.” I end up on the floor. I recall one summer day four or five years ago. A group of world class professional “cliff divers” were in Boston leaping into the harbor from a museum’s cool granite ledge and fell, arrows of graceful flesh piercing the black sea 90 feet below, leaving behind only a brief feather of water.

Just the day before in a new van rolling along a New Hampshire country road we came to a bend where my elbow on the window pointed to hills ranged in the distance, thick with summer greens, and I wept for the freshness of the view. The next morning, after reading of the divers in the paper, I was transferring from my wheelchair to the stair lift, and daydreaming of my excursion I mixed up my legs, right foot on the wrong side, left rightly to its right, and slipped a slow two feet from seat to floor. I can’t afford to lose myself with a body that cannot function without an attentive mind to serve it.

It seems to me, as odd and grandiose the comparison may be, that the wheelchair transfer has something in common with the divers’ feats. Both require full preparation and attention and then a leap. A bad fall on my part, in fact, might have consequences as grave as an error by a diver.

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