When I was in 7th grade, I slipped on some spilled milk in the cafeteria and fell promptly, quite swiftly, on my posterior. In my memory, the cafeteria erupted in laughter, but as I analyze this memory I can’t be sure this is true as I don’t think I was a closely watched person in my small parochial school. Thus, an entire cafeteria noticing my fall is highly unlikely. More likely is that some people laughed, and in my memory that laughter has been exaggerated, magnified, over time.
In any event, it was a well-landed, perfect fall.
There was no flailing about, no screaming, no panic on my end. My feet just came out from under me and I landed, soundly on my butt. I was surprised, no doubt. It was the last thing I’m sure would have happened to me — the studious, introverted book worm that I was — I was more preoccupied with not dropping my own carton of milk I had just purchased than averting a run-in with a kinetic coefficient of friction and gravity.
And yet I fell. Quietly, perfectly, and against every expectation of what should have been a regular, uneventful lunch day.
Right now in Connecticut, we are experiencing a perfect Fall, though of completely different kind. In comparison to the catastrophic weather we had last fall with Hurricane Sandy, this Fall seems to have literally jumped out of the pages of a classic New England calendar with it’s Caribbean blue skies and majestic trees of red, orange, and yellow. Majestic, ferocious colors that incite you to distraction when you drive down the street, abdicating your dutiful stare at the tarmac. “Hey! Look at me! Yeah, I’m talking to you! Yo, sailor, aren’t I simply fabulous?!” What haughty tarts of arboreality! The nuns at St. Hugh’s would be having full on apoplectic seizures if they could see these trees and their scandalous hustling.
And yet in spite of their irreverent ways, I give in to their seduction, slow my car down, and stare unabashedly at their beauty.
And they make me think how wonderful it is to fall in the Fall, giving in to all the unexpected things I thought I’d never find again. All those quiet, perfect, against-every-expectations-of-what-should-have-been-a-regular-uneventful-life things that have fallen into my life.