Posted by: pendrops | July 9, 2008

the whoosh

I flew around the first 90-degree curve, my heart racing ahead of me right out of my chest. As I continued down the slope with added momentum, I couldn’t believe I was still vertical. But I didn’t have time to celebrate. Within seconds I was upon it: the second 90-degree curve.

I let out an audible whimper, certain of my utter demise. I flailed a bit and did the worst thing I could have done, which was to straighten up and stiffen my legs. I reached my hands out to grab for something, but there was nothing other than hot asphalt.

But I wouldn’t need the concrete to stop my fall. Even with poor form and eyes clamped shut, I felt the victorious whoosh of summer air on my face as I squeaked around the treacherous bend and slowed eventually to a near-halt. After several strides I caught up with my heart, which I placed gently back in my chest, and roller-bladed my way around the soccer fields.

That was kind of fun, I thought once I was safe on level, uncurvy ground. But I’ll never go on that part of the trail again.

It was my first time rollerblading alone and Lord only knows why in my first five minutes I took on a slope that would nearly end my life. I was nervous enough about the flat trails where a twig could send me sprawling. Who would help me if I fell? What if I came upon another 90-degree turn and didn’t fare so well? What if I couldn’t stop and I hit the ground rolling and my cell phone flew out of my hand into the stream bed and I tripped over a tree root and landed under the brush, unconscious, and no one found me for days except the squirrels bearing nuts and berries in their cheeks?

I was thinking about this as I wheeled over smooth pavement sandwiched between soft grasses (just right for falling).  And I was thinking about that fear thing again and how it conquers me so many times. And I was still thinking about that when I started going downhill again, ever so slightly. But this time there was no curve. Just a straight, empty pathway.

After an extra stride or two, I crouched low, lifted my head and felt the whoosh wash over my skin. It was glorious. Really something. The whoosh. So glorious, in fact, that I began entertaining thoughts of revisiting my twisty speck of path, of feeling the surge of air and rush of wind.

Maybe next time, I decided as I thought about the risk of tree roots and zig-zagging trails and falling down and squirrels with berries. Because the whoosh is always worth the risk. Always.



  1. Always!!!

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