Shifting the Balance #sol21
December 7, 2021
I fell in the car line.
I have had this morning duty of helping the students out of the cars before school on and off for the last twenty-five years. I generally enjoy this duty and have written about the joy of it in previous posts. It’s a relatively simple proposition. The cars pull up, you open the door, the student(s) gets out. Occasionally the young person will need some assistance with their seat belt, their backpack, or their attitude. Day in and day out, rain, snow, dark of morning, the same duty happens.
Friday, 8:20 am and the four of us pile out of the kindergarten door and onto the pavement walk circling the front of school. The weather is good for early winter. A crisp ice blue winter sky expands over head and we comment about the blue as we take our usual places ten or so feet apart. The principal and the assistant principal both are away this day and I make a joke that something will definitely happens because of this.
Five or ten minutes pass of opening doors and calling good morning. Then a small car pulls up in front of me and I open the door. I greet the familiar mother and child in the car. The mother is turned to the back seat and the two of them are discussing some difficulty that is occurring in the car. The mother presses her foot to the gas pedal and the car revs loudly. I think momentarily that the child and I might be caught by the back wheels if she accelerates and begin to hasten the child out of the car.
In the ensuing exit, I catch my foot on what I’m not sure, the child, her backpack, the raised surface of the walk and begin to feel myself falling backwards as if in slow motion. I realize that I cannot stop the momentum of the fall and try to relax to mitigate the damage. Still, the hard surface of the sidewalk hits my legs, my back, my shoulders, and my head. Stunned, I just lay there.
Around me, the ripple of this action begins to form. The staff member at the head of the line has heard the rev and seen me disappear from her view. She assumes I have been run over by the car. She stops the mother who has pulled away and the mother gets out of her car. I don’t know any of this has happened, I am still on my back on the pavement.
The leader radios for the school nurse and tells the office that I’ve been hurt. I don’t know any of this has happened, I am still on my back on the pavement beginning to wonder how I will get up.
My colleagues around me have noticed that I have fallen and beginning to come over and peer down at me. It’s only been a minute or so, but it feels like an eternity. I am still on my back on the pavement. Someone says don’t get up. I think, I’m not sure if I can.
I begin to sit up and then consider how I will move from this sit to the stand that I eventually will have to do. I feel a little wobbly and begin to realize that a dozen cars and more than a half dozen people on the sidewalk are staring at me.
Finally, I maneuver myself into a semi-kneel and get up from the pavement with a friendly hand. All of this has taken a couple of minutes.
In those few moments I felt like a beetle suddenly turned onto its back, surprised by the events, struggling to right itself in a uncertain situation.
Isn’t that just where so many of us are now? Suddenly in a situation that we hadn’t anticipated, trying to right ourselves and unsure of our own abilities or the tools around us.
Perhaps we just need to keep into the struggle and use our wits, it may turn out just fine.