Monday, October 6, 2014

"The Fall"

            The day begins with me alone on a front porch swing, taking the time to savor the morning stillness before anyone else awakens.
            Yesterday right after dawn, I donned my tennis shoes, hung the Canon around my neck, and made a short hike down the road to a gate that guarded river access. I spied a trellis heavy with grapevines; its fruit long lost to birds. Moving cautiously downward, I found a clearing where water shallowly pooled. Snapping pictures, I captured sunlight and water—rocks hidden under a rising mist.
            I tiptoed across a natural bridge of stepping stones, attending to each one to make certain my feet found purchase as I made my way across the moss slickened steps. Trying to gather morning’s essence, I hunkered down on a ledge to change angles, finding beauty from east to west.
            I dangled my camera around my neck, its heavy weight bumping against my chest, and its weight reminded me to take care. But a loose and slippery rock foiled my sensible shoes and snail pace, catapulting me into a cartwheel. Instinct snapped into place, and I caught the camera before it plopped into the water. Who cares about a bruised hip, battered shoulder or bumped head? My hands cradled my camera as my head bounced a second time. Like a mother who’s swept in to pull her child away from catastrophe, I checked my “baby” for damage as I swiped at the lens and casing with a dry corner of my shirt. Reassured that water hadn’t seeped beyond its hardened shell, I powered it down and began to laugh.
            Water trickled down the right side of my body and my right shoe squished as I made my way further up the bank, pulling away from the river’s edge. For a second, my blurred vision worried me. Had I hit my head that hard? And then I realized that my glasses lay somewhere behind me. Half-blind and half-drenched, I searched my way back down the path—hoping my glasses had tumbled onto the ground when I took off my light jacket—fearing that they lay under water.
            I backtracked onto the spit of rocks, avoiding the one that spilled me into the water; and began to patty cake the cool surface, squinting in an attempt to sharpen my vision. My fingers found my frames before my eyes, and I plucked them gratefully from their hiding place under a large leaf.
            My mishap meant I meandered around the water’s edge with wet pants and a soggy shoe as I preserved wild flowers blooming one last time before the coming of Fall.

Copyright 2014 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman   


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