I am running with my boy through an autumn forest on a winding path, that is covered with freshly fallen leaves. Suddenly my left foot gets caught behind a little root. Time will slow down very soon.
Later on I will be amazed how much can go through my head and emotional body in one second and how much it can keep me busy after this second has been long past. I am not 100 % sure if this experience is so appropriate on this blog, but I enjoyed the freshness and quirkiness of it so much that I felt like sharing it anyway.
The next 10th of a second after becoming aware that my foot got stuck I live with this inner smile and surprise: ‘Ooops, there is a little interruption of my happy running rhythm! How weird and potentially interesting.’ My sense of movement aesthetics gets slightly stressed.
Right after this I notice that the problem is a bit more substantial. My foot doesn’t come loose by itself. Now my perception of time slows down radically. First I feel how I get annoyed in a rather cocky way: ‘How dare you – little fucking root – disturbing me, challenging me and my sweet running adventure with my boy! I am a well trained mover! Something so tiny as you can’t get me out of balance. I put years of practice to master physical challenges on completely different levels!’ Of course, the complexity of thoughts was a bit lower in this moment, but there was definitely a brief phase, with this rather complex mixture of thoughts and emotional attachment around my status as a well trained movers.
I find it amazing, how much time can slow down in moments of falling. The density of thoughts and physical and emotional experiencing. Plus the level of reflection. It is like living in a cartoon, often inadequately funny when being faced with a coming injury.
The next phase is filled with regret: ‘How could I waste so much precious time self-indulgently resting in a state of invincibility, complaining about this tiny nasty root. I should have just reacted directly to the needs of the situation, getting ready to fall, using my well trained reflexes to find a smart and smooth way to the ground.’ My sense of annoyance gets redirected towards myself now. On some level I am busy with wondering why I was so busy with thinking and reflecting in this crucial moment. But then my memory – or what ever mental-emotional process I was going through – fades away. It seems like my body took over making a clear point towards my thinking and feeling self: ‘Just shut up and get out of the way. I am on it!’
I have this glimpse of a memory, that my free right leg turns inwards with the knee slightly folded, a very familiar move. Then time jumps back to normal. It flies so quick that it is hard to notice much. The right side of my pelvis somehow finds the ground. I am quickly rolling over my lower back, maybe also my upper back. I have contradictory ideas around that smooth-rolling move my body was performing. It felt very familiar, my hands supporting the weight and direction at some point. At least they were a bit dirty afterwards.
My left leg folds in, making space for my right foot to step over, which enables me to get up in a surprisingly fluent way – and I continue running. I make a brief comment to an elderly couple, who passes by. No idea what I said. A big part of my interest is if my boy has seen, what happened, this little masterpiece of my body, that my hard working mind didn’t manage to disturb.
I didn’t really get the appreciation from my boy, that I was longing for. He was just very excited that his Papa fell and somehow he liked it. But he only saw the end of my performance, which left me a bit disappointed.
We just continued running until we reached my wife, who had been walking ahead trying to reach the car before the autumn storm would start to embrace us with wet arms.