Getting Outside Saturday, and Falling in the Brook

categories: Cocktail Hour / Getting Outside


The other day, my usual morning walk, but my head full of people in offices in various corners of the country, all the work of the day to come, and maybe a little of writing.  It had rained and things were slick and walked with the pace of my thoughts–too fast, really, and heedless.  Normally it takes twenty minutes or so to notice that I’m in the woods.  It’s a sudden moment, usually, looking up and thinking, Wow.  The trees!  The sky!  The birds!  And suddenly I’m there.  (Exercise releases endorphins after about twenty vigorous minutes, so I’ve read, so no doubt we’re talking just another matter of getting high….)  I stepped into the tiny chasm of Nina Brook, as I call it (after a teenage neighbor who passed away suddenly, sadly), stepped over the rocks at normal gate, no thought of moss and wet leaf and no transition, found myself on my back in the water.  I held my head up so as not to go under, great surprise as the very cold water made its way through my clothes and to my skin.  My arm was under me, so, along with keeping my head up, that was my first project, interminable, and pain.  I managed at length to roll around to all fours (three, in fact, favoring the hurt arm) and crawled out, stood on the moss opposite.  And really just stood there, dripping.  Just as I thought of my phone (front shirt pocket, not too wet), it rang.  A business call.  But I answered.  “Is this Bill Roorbach.”  “I’ve just fallen in the brook.” “Oh, no.  Are you okay?”  “I landed on my arm.”  “Oh, my goodness.  Can you move it?”  I could move it.  “Try each finger.”  They all worked.  “What is the temperature?”  Cold, but not freezing.  “Can you walk?”  I could walk.  We didn’t get to the business.  She just urged me to walk home, this stranger in an office that handled reversion rights.  And to call 911 if I found I couldn’t get that far, less than half a mile.  But I was in a state of happiness.  My arm was bleeding heavily, I suddenly noticed, but if you pulled the long sleeve down it wouldn’t drip.  The cut wasn’t serious, just broad.  Shaken and cheerful, I continued on, the usual walk.  I wasn’t always a person who falls in the brook.

  1. john lane writes:

    Yes, I like that last line “I wasn’t always a person who falls in the brook.” We brought in river writer Tim Palmer last spring to speak. He’s paddled thousands of river, including the length of the Yukon. Next day after his talk we took him to mountains to see a waterfall. He was skipping across the creek on stepping stones and fell and almost broke his leg. He said, “I’ve paddle all over the world and now I fall skipping across a creek in North Carolina! So moral of story is: all sorts of folks fall in brooks.

  2. Tommy writes:

    What a GREAT first line this last line (in your post) will make!

    The future will catch right up with you and smack you in the face, and turn you into someone you didn’t know you already are – if you’re not looking. Good on you for manifesting a grounding call from a random sourse, from someone who knew to ask all the right questions. Magic? Maybe. Glad you’re o.k..