Morning Letters

Snow Falling Outside and Free Falling Inside

This morning we finally have some snow falling. The gentle downward floating looks peaceful. When the rain falls, I feel peace too.

What is it about this downward motion? The natural flow of connecting to the ground, moving from sky to earth, cloud to rock, from up there to down here.

We fall asleep too. The heavy deep sinking into the pillow as the body rests, knees and elbows and hips and toes falling into dreams.

If falling feels so right, why do I put so much effort into rising? Why don’t I look for places to fall in life instead of places to climb?

Shakespeare’s plays taught me that falling can lead to terrible outcomes. Yesterday I watched ‘The Undoing‘ on HBO and I’m still anxious from the various ways the series explored ‘falling’, each frightful. We are programmed to climb, to look up, to find ways to get to the top.

And yet…

We fall in love.

We’ve named a season after the falling of leaves.

Many teachers use their fingers to make the motion of waterfalls and with a whispery voice say “waterfalls” to invite students to do the same and focus the attention of the class. People install water features with water falling over rocks or statues or plants. When I watch a waterfall, even Niagara Falls, I get lost in it. My gaze softens and mind opens to awe and wonder.

This style of writing is called freefall, allowing the words to form without censor or forethought, letting the text accumulate like snowbanks, allowing the wind to blow phrases down the road and across the lake, and inviting the subconscious to build an imaginary village of snow people who will one day melt. Creative freefalling into any possibility.

The word fall sounds like the start of the word follow. Each snowflake follows the same direction. Is there a connection between falling and following? I prefer that idea to the typical connection between falling and failure. Years ago in schools the mantra ‘failure is not an option’ worked its way across North America. Signs with this slogan were even posted around schools to inspire student success. What did this mean? Who did it inspire? The signs are gone now but occasionally the slogan reappears and I still wonder what purpose it tried to serve, what lessons it meant to teach our youth.

Everyone experiences falling. Falling is always an option. Falling doesn’t need to mean failure. Falling is a natural way for all living things. What if we embraced falling? How would that change things?

Today I want to be like the snow falling, the silence, space, and presence of many pieces moving to land on branches, nests, and front lawns. It’s a good day to let go of the need to achieve, to let go of the pressure to do, and to fall into being here in my favourite chair watching snow land on my favourite tree.

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