I.was.perspiring. A LOT. The sweat dripped down my forehead, escaping from the brim of my baseball cap.
My heart was pounding from exhaustion and I wasn’t sure how much longer the little guy could take the tension that was squeezing the life out of it.
Reverberating in my head as the bumps of the path reverberated through my entire body was the Gondola man’s voice:
“Be careful” he warned, “Your bikes not made for the speed you’ll pick up going downhill.”
“You’ll be fine!” I told myself,
“You can conquer The Beast!” was my response.
It was quite the pathetic pep talk because in reality I was thinking:
“Nice knowing you world! If I make it down this mountain alive, I’ll be shocked”
Now, I know what you might be thinking, but the thought of my imminent demise did not stop me from leaping onto that Gondola after my brother and my father,
Two equally as amateur riders but by far more kinesthetically minded than myself, and to be frank, less of a klutz.
At this particular point in my venture I am halfway down the mountain.
My father is trailing behind me, my brother kicking up dust as he leaves me far behind.
I can hear his hooting and hollering as he flies, free of fear, down the side of The Beast.
My nerves are reaching out for the bottom of the mountain.
Searching for the end of their anxiety.
I’ve never moved so fast towards a single destination in my life.
I had never been so determined to make it down the path that lies before me and terrified of it at the same time.
And then I saw my nemesis, sitting smack dab in the middle of my downward trajectory. It sat there taunting me, playing a game of chicken, except we both knew that only one of us could actually move.
That damn rock, huge and immovable, was going to be my downfall. Godammit, I was so close I could feel it but sadly I was moving too fast, heading straight for it, my tires not thick enough to maneuver through the loose gravel that crunched furiously beneath them.
I accepted my fate, clenched the handle bars, and barreled forward, unable to stop my momentum…My thought? “Wow, I should have really checked the brakes before doing this, they aren’t doing shit.”
My bike collided with the obstinate rock and fought valiantly to overcome it, but alas was unsuccessful.
The bike was stopped dead in its tracks, but of course my body, the object in motion, stayed in motion.
I exhaled with an “Oh shit!” as I propelled forward and oddly the sound of laughter followed, exploding from behind my lips as I flew through the air.
“Hey I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a bird, now was my chance, if only my limbs could keep me a flight.”
But I had no such luck.
I crashed into the ground, and skidded to a halting stop.
On my back, entangled with the bike that surprisingly didn’t leave me to crash on my own.
I appreciated that kind of commitment.
I heard laughter from behind me and in front as I lay there looking into the sky that was certainly laughing at me as well.
It was as if my past and future were all laughing with me.
I was lifted to my feet by my father and from behind me I could hear the hysterical laughter of my brother and his distant voice asking, “How the hell did you manage to do that?!”
I dusted myself off and shook my head, “The rock was too stubborn to move.” I said.
That is the nature of falling.
You fall because you are thrown off balance.
You are thrown off balance because there is an unexpected obstacle on your path.
But that is also the beauty of falling.
I fall…more than I would like to admit.
I fail at everyday human activity like walking.
But every time I get back up and I keep on walking because what else are you supposed to do?
That is the beauty of falling.
Sometimes it hurts for a split second, and others it hurts long after you’ve already dusted yourself off.
You get bruised and scratch. Maybe you twist an ankle.
Maybe you get embarrassed when you fall or maybe you tend to laugh at yourself.
BUT what falling has taught me, most importantly, is to surround myself with the people that won’t just pick me up and walk away shaking their heads
I look for the people that will laugh at me for falling, then pick me up, and continue to walk down the path with me, knowing full well that I may fall again
and accepting that they may fall too.
But there is a sense of confidence that whoever is left standing will reach out a hand and pick up the fallen, right out of the dirt, the grass, the snow.
Because falling happens all year round, wherever it pleases.
So fall hard, fall often and fall with others, until you conquer the beast.