A Soft Place To Fall

I think we spend most of our lives afraid. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of the cold and of the harsh realities of the world. We find ourselves clinging to religion in the constant fear of nothingness. We find ourselves clinging to life, afraid of what death might have in store. We hold on to love, afraid that we may never get another chance at it. We rise up against our brothers in the fear of change. We dangle at the end of a rope when the fear becomes overwhelming.


We start our lives out in the safest place that the human heart can beat, within a mother’s womb. This should be the safest place of all. Now we all know that for some, its not. But those are not situations we like to think about too often. The constant embrace of warmth and love, the unbreakable connection and the deep sense nurturing, you’ll never feel that safe again.


You should feel safe in school. But as the years go by and the hate in this world builds, schools are about as less of a safe place that you can be in. Other than Dirt Hill Road in Hama, Syria that is. I remember Kindergarten. Nap time was always a struggle for the teacher to get all of us kids to all lie down on their mats and close their eyes for twenty or so minutes. But for the most part it did feel like a safe place to lie your head. Yet it didn’t take long before the bullies came into play. The gangs and the corruption took over. School became a place I started to avoid if at all possible. Now it’s a place I fear every time I watch my children get on the bus.


Military bases use to be a sign of safety in this country. The impenetrable walls, the strength of force. The pride of those who marched within it’s boundaries. being inside the compound use to mean that nothing could touch you. But we all know that nothing is as safe as it seems anymore. We have recently seen our Army base and Naval base come under attack by its own soldiers. How can you feel safe when those who stand with you are the ones who rise to against you.


We find ourselves more times than not in relationships sown from the threads of fear. The thought of being alone can be every bit as frightful as the thought of some madman walking into a crowded theater carrying a full metal jacket. We want to feel safe. We want to have the feeling that no matter what happens in our lives, whether it be a crippling disease, an unexpected turning point or the struggle to remember who we are as we enter the silver portion of our lives, that you would still be safe in the arms of someone you loved and who loved you. We want to feel that warm embrace. But as any high school girl can tell you, embraces never last forever.

I close my eyes and try to think back to the safest place I have ever known. I am seven years old. I had a sore throat and couldn’t go to school. My mother wheels in the old black and white t.v. on the television cart and sets it up at the end of my bed. She brings me tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. She puts drops of vapor rub on a towel and heats it up in the oven before wrapping me up tight in it. I never wanted to get well, I never wanted my brother and sisters to return home from school. I loved it under those blankets watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island.


Sometimes I wonder where life will take me in the glow of its twilight. I hope I am blessed with a quick and speedy exit like my father and not a seemingly endless growth of burden and disparity as my mother. I would hope that in the end it would be the warmth of family that I would find myself safely within. Those before me and those after me, and those who stand along side of me. Yet as the kids get older and go their separate ways, and are dropped from the nest as they learn to fly, they too will be searching for that soft place to fall. Those before get older and those beside grow distant. I find myself sometimes hoping for just a place without any sharp rocks or broken glass.


So thank you Adam, for eating that apple, I frikkin appreciate it. We were in the safest place of all and you had to go and get us kicked out. Next time you get hungry reach for a banana you dumb ass.

Please God don’t blame me for the actions of the stupid. We are all just looking for that warm towel under some soft blankets with a spoon full of hot soup.


“Things that used to matter seem so small
When you’re looking for a soft place to fall” – Allison Moorer


About paulsdahlman

Born in Southern California, raised on the road and now growing roots in New England. I am on the journey of my lifetime. May the footprints I leave behind form the words to my story.
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