Laws of Physics

Hurrying down the stairs with an empty laundry basket with the hope of hopping into bed soon to enjoy an episode of my favorite show, I once again challenged gravity to a dual and lost. With my socked foot sliding out from under me, I fell backward down the last four steps as my basket flew from my hands.

Fell on my back not my front, but just as elegant

As an aside, don’t you find it fascinating how time slows down when you are falling. Midway down, thoughts flew through my head at what felt like leisurely speed:

1. This is going to hurt.

2. I hope I don’t break anything.

Slamming down on the edge of the step with my back (thank goodness for ugly carpet!) and whacking my elbow on the wall, pain surged through my body. I lay there for a moment catching my breath and doing a quick examination of whether I had broken anything. I hadn’t.

Prostrate with my head resting on the stair, I had three thoughts…there’s a lot of thinking that goes on when you decide to challenge gravity.

1. I hope nobody heard that. What an idiot!

2. I hope everybody heard that and checks to see if I’m alive.

3. Look at all the cobwebs on my stairwell light.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on what thought process I was in at the time, three members of my family came running, and I was able to moan and groan with an audience. It makes a difference to have an audience. There is soothing energy that comes from being asked “Are you okay?” Even if you are not quite ready to answer the question immediately and have to wait to point out the cobwebs on the light.

Sitting up and shaking up my limbs, I was greatly surprised that I was not more hurt, but I won’t delude myself. I am in that stage of life where I don’t bounce anymore from a fall, but neither do I break a hip. I am in the middle stage of life where you know you are going to feel it the next day and require Advil.

This put me in mind of physics and laws that govern gravity, momentum, time, and energy, and I had the realization that I have been experiencing a lot of laws of physics lately.

Newton’s First Law of Motion

Objects at rest will remain at rest, and objects in motion will remain in motion.

I have been doing more motioning than resting and therefore remain an object in constant motion. It sometimes takes a big force like a thump downstairs to stop my momentum or some angst to re-evaluate the effectiveness of that motion. It would be better if I spent more time as an object at rest instead of acting like a pinball machine, but until I take myself more seriously, I will continue to receive reminders that motion is not productivity. Rather, it is a sign of an avoidant and disorganized mind.

Newton’s Third Law of Motion

When one object exerts a force on another object, the second object exerts an equal and opposite force on the first.

I continually have to remind myself and my husband that our kids need to be allowed the time and space to make foolish decisions and be supported and loved unconditionally. At this stage, that’s our job. Our job is to bail them out of jail, but then make them work their debt off. Our job is not to scream and yell and make jail an appealing place to spend more time. We can offer advice, but if we force, we are guaranteed that they will exert equal and opposite pressure.

PS No one went to jail…it’s just an analogy to protect the innocent...until proven guilty.

The Third Law of Thermodynamics

The entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the temperature approaches absolute zero…“temperature” actually refers to atomic movement.

If my atoms are cold, so are the dogs’ and the children’s, and the thermostat needs to be increased. Spring is a wonderful time of year where the thermostat is jacked up in the morning, then decreases slowly through the day reaching absolute zero by bedtime at which point the fan is turned on so the dogs don't get hot while sleeping.

The First Law of Thermodynamics

Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It can only be converted from one form to another.

On a less flippant note, we had to say goodbye to our Oslo yesterday. His health had been deteriorating over time; however, we were not ready for it to end. It broke my daughter’s heart as it was unexpected. We were hoping for solutions not euthanasia but presented with the full scope of his quality of life, my daughter chose to honor Oslo’s needs, not her own. That's love.

In all of the laws above, this one brings me the most comfort. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. I know I am playing fast and loose with the real intent of these laws of physics; however, I stand firmly on the last one. The things we love never die. They just become a form we can’t see…yet.

I would say rest in peace, Oslo, but if I know you, you are an object in motion after being stationary for so long. I hope you know you are loved in whatever form you take and will be greatly missed.


Unable are the loved to die because love is immortality.

- Emily Dickinson

There are not enough words in the English language to describe the experience of this. Death is more than life. Humans put their animals "to sleep" when it's really waking them up. Everybody has it all backwards.

- Author: Kate McGahan

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