It only seems like slow motion when tumbling to the ground because I’m aware of every step. The first step on Colorado River rocks behind the koi pond’s waterfall, another step on uneven rocks for balance, and the feet are leaden, refusing to lift high enough or quickly for more balancing steps as the momentum of my body pushes forward, aware the tipping point has slipped behind me, the right shoulder crashing into a spiny asparagus fern spreading over more large rocks on the mounded perimeter of the pond. No banging of the head like two friends who died from falling, sudden leaks in the brain. There is slight pain from the thorns of the fern and the middle finger on the right hand throbs from cushioning the impact. Add blood-thinning meds since a heart attack more than a year ago and skinny white legs sticking out of cargo shorts look like someone has been playing mumbly-peg with a sharp knife. Small cuts bleed as if they are more dangerous ones and they do so on through the night.
What’s disconcerting is the tumble happened to a formerly agile guy, one who climbed ladders daily hanging lights in a theatre. It was the inevitability of hitting the ground once the fall started, knowing no instinctive maneuver would be quick enough to avoid the accident. It is like the sudden looseness in the steering or the brake pedal going all the way to the floorboard, the sudden acceptance of a crash into rocks covered by a pondside fern.