Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Precious Life

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Life ...

In an instant I realise how precious life is and how quickly, suddenly, it can be extinguished.

It was an innocuous accident. I simply slipped on a slimy mat that had been discarded in front of the door in the garden. One second my feet were firmly on the ground, the next whoosh, they'd lifted me off the ground, sliding away in front of me, out of control. As I felt myself fall, the thought flashed through my mind that I might be able to stop or at the very least recover the situation before I caused any damage to flesh or bone, but it wasn't to be, the mat was too slippery, the momentum too fast.


When I realised I'd stopped sliding I became aware that I was laying flat on my back on the soft, mossy, ground. Initially I felt a mixture of silliness at my predicament and cross that my clean clothes needed to be changed only minutes from having put them on. I was aware my shoulders, back, bottom, fingers all ached and I was surrounded by the recycling that had emptied itself on top of me as I fell. I wondered whether falls such as this one hurt children as much as they do grown women.

My daughter quickly opened the door when she heard the commotion...

"Mammy are you okay, did you hit your head?" her voice that a second ago had been monosyllabic as I hurried her up for school, was now full of concern.

As I tentatively moved and began to lift my shoulders from the ground, muddy elbows supporting me before I hauled myself back upright, I glanced behind. My head had come to rest on the heavy limestone step that we cross dozens of times each day.. Judging by the pain I must have taken the full force of the fall across the back of my shoulders... a few centimetres more and the outcome may have been very different.

Several hours later I think I've been in shock. The reality of how extraordinarily quickly our lives can change has been chipping away in my thoughts all day.

As a result of this jolt I've said loving words to my husband, hugged my children, cuddled the cat and stroked the soft fur around the dogs ears. I've walked the garden, touched the mossy trees and noticed the remaining flowers swaying in the strong, mild autumn breeze. Despite the bruises I've cleaned out the hens, cut the grass, sowed a few vegetables and made some red onion marmalade, breathing in the vinegary, alcoholic aromas that have been wafting around the kitchen for the past few hours.

I stood and watched the sun set way off to the west and I thanked the universe and whoever is minding out for me that I'm still here, intact and am in a position to appreciate everything and everyone that I share my life with. I know this feeling will pass, soon day to day living will take over and memories of my little slip will fade away, but at this moment I'm reminded how utterly precious our lives are.

And the mat... well the mat has been banished forever though a part of me did wonder whether it should be cleaned and resurrected as a thank you for today's gift...


  1. Oh Dee, sounds like you took a right tumble! Hope you're ok?

  2. I'm fine, than you Margaret. Nothing that a couple of soaks in the tub won't sort out. Having put my car in the ditch on Sunday guess I'm more aware than usual how many lives I might have!

  3. The photo of the enormous step really hit home Dee. Ouch! I suppose you are right a blow from out of nowhere can really put things in perspective, funny that, and we never never know how quickly everything we love and take for granted can be swept away....Glad you are more than Ok....even older and wiser. X

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    2. Type in above! I was in two minds whether to add the picture of the rock but it was so relevant to the shock of the situation. Still more cautious about my steps outside three months later!


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