I’ve fallen out of lots of trees (though not many lately) but the one I remember the most was a gigantic pine at my friend Sarah’s house. I was pretty far up. She was below me, and I don’t know how it happened but I slipped, lost my grip, and landed many feet down. The ground was pretty soft. I hopped right up and looked up at Sarah’s face which hadn’t had a chance to lose its shock.
“Are you okay?” she called.
“Yup,” I answered.
It was a lovely fall. I remember the quiet. You’d think when falling from the height of the second floor there’s be sound, but it was silent during that opposite of flight. And I was okay. I climbed back up, we kept playing, and didn’t understand later why her mother was upset that we hadn’t told her right away.
I’ve fallen of plenty of horses, too, and those falls are not as quiet. Because usually there’s laughter. Among the myriad life lessons I learned at the Barn when I was growing up, perhaps the most important one was this: laugh at yourself. And laugh with other people when they’re laughing at you. Especially if they’re laughing after you fall off a horse. Usually, it’s funny, all that twisting and turning and gasping. And if it wasn’t funny, if it was actually kind’ve scary, laughter will still help.