“You wouldn’t believe what once or
twice I’ve seen.
I’ll just tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.”
– Mary Oliver, “The World I Live In,” from “Felicity”
The other day, while on a field trip with his class, my 6-year-old son fell from a downed tree at a state park. He fell seven feet or so into a harsh bramble of tangled branches and hard ground.
There were about 50 ways he could have landed that could have been tragic or put us in the hospital for a good, long while. And I saw it all.
In an instant, I screamed out his name and he responded, “I’m alright.” I hurdled over the tree’s mossy trunk, looking like a wild woman, pushing untamed brush and children out of my away as I fell at his side and helped him up.
“I’m fine,” he said again, tears welling in his eyes as they welled in mine.
We checked him over and, as much as I tried to downplay it and not embarrass him in front of his friends, I was shaking and couldn’t stop checking him for signs of neck or head injury.
“He really is fine,” our chiropractor confirmed, a little surprised, after a spinal adjustment a few hours later. We even searched for surface injury and found not a single bruise or scratch.
So, I finally relaxed my shallow breathing, took my first deep breath in hours, and whispered thank you all the way home.
Last night, as I told my son good night, he said, “You know when I fell, momma, it felt like I landed in my bed, or like a pile of feathers.”
I could hardly contain my tears as I hugged him and choked out a few words.
“You conquered the tree and you conquered the fall. You are brave.”
I’ve never felt miraculously saved or rescued by angels. And I don’t know if that’s what happened to my son. Who can say?
But simple physics tells me that yesterday’s fall could have ended in life-altering injury or death. And fact tells me that the ground my son rose from felt nothing like feathers.