Unfree Fall


I didn’t get around to writing yesterday. We got home from the LA Women’s Film Festival at nearly midnight. The closer I get to midnight the more I find my decisions  changing from “and” decisions and becoming “either/or” decisions: as in: “I can either write a post or I can wash my hair” not “I can write a post and wash my hair”.

Obviously I washed my hair. It has been two weeks. It was the priority.

It is shaping up to be a busy week. I’m trying to wrestle my mind into some kind of constructive attitude instead of worrying about the workload and psyching myself out. Getting a mind to change directions is a little bit like trying to do a three point turn with a container ship: it only happens by degrees and it takes time.

Earlier in the day, with the whole heap of the week in front of me, I escaped into some music on my iPod while walking from the parking lot to the classroom. The particular song that I was listening to made me think about someone in free fall and I found myself wondering how high they would need to be in order to be in free fall for the length of the entire song. Songs are usually two or three minutes long: how far would someone fall in five minutes? How high would they have to start from?

My high school physics kicked in at this point and it occurred to me that a person in free-fall wouldn’t be falling at a constant speed, but rather would be accelerating with each second. Accelerating towards the ground would be terrifying, but what about free-fall through space? Would it even feel like falling? Orbiting the planet would feel like weightlessness, but it would still be free-fall without the sense of impending impact related death. That would be freeing.

If free-fall felt like weightlessness, I found myself wondering, then what makes a body feel like it has weight? Is the sensation standing still on solid ground really a moment of arrested free fall? Is stillness actually a moment frozen conflict between the fall pulling down and the earth pushing up? Is it conflict that gives us weight in life or is it support? Is it freeing to fall or is it terrifying?

I guess it is a question that can’t be answered without knowing who it is that is falling and what they are falling towards. Perspective makes all the difference. So while it may take a while to change a mind, the effort is worth it.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 23, 2015.

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