Walking Stumbling Limping Falling by Alyson Hallett & Phil Smith

I just wrote this whole post then tripped up. My finger slipped on the iPad and I wiped the whole text away with one action. Such is life. Things change with the blink of an eye, an accidental swipe, a fall from grace. When our bodies are irrevocably altered by illness or surgery, our minds are too. And maybe what evolves is richer than what was there before. This book proves that.

It is the outcome of a conversation between two keen walkers who, for different reasons, were temporarily grounded. And it is a grounding read for those of us of a certain age. It reassures us that we are not alone.

At the beginning, I struggled to get into it, in the same way I find rising from a deep, low sofa, with soft cushions, difficult. I don’t recall finding that hard when I was younger. I wasn’t quite sure of the territory, there are quite a few unknowns until the narrative revealed itself. Like an anatomy of walking. As it progresses we get closer to the bone, deeper into the cells, delving through the surface tension and tentatively navigating the cracks in the pavements and mortality.

I enjoyed the comments about the association of falling with humiliation. How as children we fall constantly and it is part of learning, but we don’t anticipate that, as adults, we will have to revisit that process for some reason. And it will always be so excruciatingly embarrassing that we will leap to our feet as fast as possible. But sometimes just staying down there, reflecting on how the world looks from a new perspective, can be a revelation.

The list of scores for a fall is wonderful and witty. I’d like to add to that list if I may – Swooning fall: falling in love so deeply you lose your footing and, inevitably, end up on your back.

Thanks to both writers for a very pleasurable read, I recommend it to everyone. You can get it here.

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