[Through back-channels I heard the story of a Canadian boy who may have been studied in Toronto in the 1990s. He had some disability, possibly Downs Syndrome, and it was said that when he became agitated, some impressive psychic phenomena could get started. Everyone interpreted the flying objects and other unexplained physical effects as threatening gestures that emanated from him. I never got any closer to the matter. People get really protective of cases involving children or the differently-abled, and this one was both. Odds are good that the character in question is in his thirties and has aged out of his powers. This is a pattern with many of the world’s performance mediums, including Western New York’s Fox Sisters and Davenport brothers, whose first and most likely legitimate displays came when they were in their teens. But I was told that this Canadian boy who could not control his impulses could be terrifying and even dangerous.]
I took a nasty wipeout on my roller-skis on Monday (May 14, 2018) on a downhill stretch on the east side access road in Knox Farm State Park. The fall came shortly after you cross the main trailhead by the parking lot just past the nearest barn and in sight of the dog park. I was heading south on the main north-south access road, and it was a massive flop, right on the pavement. The skiers call one of those “a yard sale” because items fly all over. I was lucky to get no more than a couple scrapes. Really lucky. My right hip was mighty stiff for twenty-four hours, but my sports healer Ed Retzer was able to put it all back together on the next day. I’m back in the saddle.
But that wipeout had shocked me. Usually I can stay up long enough to dive onto the grass, which was quite nearby. At first I thought I had just hit that pebble-with-your-name-on-it that all roller-skiers dread. The smallest item can spill you if it catches a wheel just right. It stoves it like it hit a wall. It turns out that one of my wheels had popped off. The left rear. It had brought me down like one of the roller skis was caught in a trap.
The good news is that I have a very good fall reflex. I was also wearing a helmet. I just have a few scrapes that hydrogen peroxide and a couple bandages will settle for, but… You think maybe I ought to take it a little easier someday? I’m not twenty-two anymore. I had put a new wheel on one of the rollers, and that was the one that came off. Maybe I didn’t get the nut on tight enough. Something interesting, though, happened right before it.
As I approached that spot at which I had tumbled, two people came walking from the parking lot and turned my way to walk uphill hand in hand like lovers. They were keeping to the right as you should, hence they were on my left. I was moving, and I didn’t study them, but I have my impression. The one at the edge of the grass was an attractive, athletic-looking woman, a ponytailed honey-blonde in sunglasses. I would say she could have been anywhere from twenty-five to forty-five. The one toward the middle of the road and closest to me was a youth who could have been twelve or a late-maturing twenty. He was thin, five-ten, shorthaired and pale. My impression of them as couple had faded. This was mother-and-son or some other relationship, maybe aunt and nephew.
When I got within ten feet, the kid stuck his left foot out as if to trip me by my left roller-ski. It was so obviously just a fake that I didn’t react in any way. It was poor manners, though, except in jest with a friend, and utterly ignorant of the protocol of skiing. When you see somebody coming downhill, you give them as much room as they could need to pick the line they want and make sure they finish the move upright. The hazards are dramatically greater with roller skiing.
As I passed them en route to the spot of my eventual wipe-out, it occurred to me that there might have been a little something wrong with the boy, and that the woman’s hand on his could have been a leash to keep him close and give him no momentum toward getting into trouble. His expression toward me had been challenging, even a little hostile, which would have been foolish. This kid was frail and soft. He’s not winning many fights. Fifty feet after at one of the worst possible spots came my dramatic flop. It left me remembering that case in Toronto.
They say that when something is taken away, something is always given back. Most of the world’s Native peoples have always believed this, and they would agree that this applies to the gifts of the mind. When a common function is shut down, maybe others, ones not so common, can become active. It was his left foot sticking out, and my left rear roller the one acting up. Could there have been any connection? Could there be a bit more to that kid?
[The picture that heads up this article is me reflected in the window of my last Subaru wagon, after a roller ski workout in which I did not suffer contusions.]