Wednesday, June 9, 2010



Thin wire. Slim balance of life hangs on the cord no thicker than the perimeter of a quarter. Nearly a hundred feet up. Air is thick. Heat continues to rise. Humid. Hot breaths escapes from my mouth. Sweat drips along my neckline. A sea of faces. Eyes looking upwards. Wide open jaws gasping. Keep focused. Don’t look down. Vertigo. And I love that feeling of dizziness. Reminds me of standing over the edge of the sea. Maintain equilibrium. No beams. No net below.

Feet tip toe across the cable gracefully. Walking along a line. Same as a thousand times before. A wiry black line that separates me from the ground below. The fall. It’s the most exhilarating part. At least that’s what the others tell me afterwards. I can’t say I agree as I’ve fallen too many times to count. Truthfully once you’ve fallen the rest is easy. You may fall again and again. But at least you’ll never fear it. Often I encourage the new recruits to give in. “If you just let go. Don’t be afraid.” The hard part is getting back up. Some never do. This is why I insist they fall early and get it over with. You will know most definitely if you were meant to fly or stay firmly on the ground.

It’s been two years and a handful of shows since my last fall. Thankfully it was at a practice but still quite misfortunate. Broke an arm after I got caught in the net below.  The experience sent me spinning. I’d had fallen time and time again, but never been injured. Mortality had instantly become a new awareness. No work. No wires. For three months nothing. For a wire walker, balance is a key part of every day life. I swore I’d never be so reckless again. As I nearly lost my life in that fall. Losing the wires would be like losing a part of myself.

Scoot? There’s no foot shuffling involved. The process of balance requires the same dedication you might give to walking. Although some people do stumble around without any care regularly. One foot in front of the other is what works best. Eyes straight ahead. That way there is no mistake or room for distraction. On occasion the chance for disruption can occur as I’m experiencing right now. My left foot seems to have missed the proper placement on the line. Teetering without balance my body weight shifts. Even the slightest movement can create a interruption in stability. Regaining composure I continue on.

Step after step. Dangerous but thrilling. The world shifts before me without reason. Unsteadiness threatens the path. Wire shakes beneath my legs. No sense of poise. I’m hurtling. Arms flailing. Trying to grip at the air. Thousands of voices releasing gasps and screams in a symphony of fear. Tumbling downward as fast as gravity can pull, my body falls. My heart pounds out of panic. Pure adrenaline. Stomach drops with anticipation of the ground. Eyes can not find a target. Dizzying. Spinning without pause. Nothing but a quick end when it finally stops. Crowd gathers immediately after it happens. Faces after faces huddle around me. I can’t see anything but the wire above. Funny, but I didn’t feel the landing. Body may be shattered in a dozen pieces, but I can’t feel a thing. Bones may have been crushed and completely irreplaceable. Unable to assess the damage. The anonymous faces continue to grow. They tell me Don’t Move. I’m not going anywhere. Broken doll lying at the bottom of the sea.

Things lie in a balance. Yin-Yang. For hard work there are great rewards. Pass or Fail. This is appropriate for the moment as I'm watching someone succeed today after some hard work. Education, rather learning is quite important. Because you can learn without school. Everyday offers a new lesson. This was written in part from a desire to be an acrobat on the flying trapeze and watching a movie where someone plummets from a building. Always wondered what that would look like from above?  Oddly enough, many years ago I was afraid of heights for a bit after a fall broke my hand.  Anyhow... digressed. Enjoy if you've never read it! m. 

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