How do I even know this is real? I asked silently at my altar. They waited. I thought. Maybe some sort of signal? Something that rarely happens and is unusual enough that I know its really you? Immediately the few memories of me falling–the sensation, the utter shock–flashed into my mind. I looked at my melon-sized knee apprehensively.
Falling down is something that qualifies as rare and unusual for me. I started dance lessons at the age of 3 and continued them for 11 years, and while my flexibility’s gone to shit the thing I have maintained is my balance. You’ll see me slip and stumble and trip and tumble a thousand times, but RARELY will you see me fall. I always catch myself, even when it seems like I shouldn’t have been able to. With my knee swollen, immobilized at an angle, and blazing like a furnace, the addition of a cane had further IMPROVED my balance, not lessened it. (3-legged at the ripe old age of 21. HA!) The idea of falling potentially injured not only my knee, but my pride.
There’s something else that can be used, surely. I thought quickly, wiping the idea from my mind. I ran a list of possibilities through my head and picked something I felt would be suitable. Okay, if this is real, make sure that happens. I thought at my altar before gathering my supplies, loading up on painkillers and entheogens, and stumping out into the night to do some magick.
I went out to the node on the golf course, which is a 3 mile hike round trip, so I easily forgot my previous conversation as I limped there, did my thing, then started limping back.
I was 3 quarters of the way home when it happened. I knew the treacherous area of the golfcart path well, patched with dips. I made sure I would miss them and walked ahead confidently…and somehow my good leg came down into the self-same pothole I had just avoided, my cane caught on a crack, and instinct compelled me to catch myself…on my bad leg. My vision went dark as the weight of my ritual bag swung ’round from the lurch and pulled me forward, stool and empty bottle sent flying (safely into the grass), and my ritual bag landing (safely on top of me). (Spirits are jerks, yo. They’ll trip a gimp just to prove a point.)
I lay there for several minutes gasping in shock and pain, tears stinging my eyes. Gradually my breathing evened as I felt the stars shining on me. Slowly I tested to make sure everything was still in working order, when the realization of what had just happened came crashing down on me and I began gasping for air again. I FELL. Son of a bitch. Eventually I cried out “Fine! FINE! Message received! Jerks!” Then I picked myself back up, gathered my things, and set my rickety especially-painful knee to working so I could get home in the wee hours of the morning and hopefully get enough sleep before work.
They have never forgotten how effective this was.
I fall more often now than I ever did before, because they know it gets my attention, shocks me out of my headspace and lets me know they want something. Once it was because Things were Afoot. Once while hiking I started to take one path, then turned to take the other when the ground gave way beneath me and I fell. I took this to mean that I should take the first path, and lo and behold there was a bag of doggie poo someone had taken the trouble to hide up on a ledge that definitely needed to be disposed of–one that couldn’t be seen if on the other path or coming from the other direction. There have been other times as well–I think I may have fallen more in the past few years than I did in the entire decade preceding.
I still don’t fall that often, but I know to Pay Attention when I do.