Learning to Fly
“Stick your leg out and bend your other knee.”
My head shook a firm negative at him.
“Come on, just stick your foot out, we’ve got you.”
After a shaky ladder ascent, I was finally standing at the top of the trapeze platform looking down at Tito through the safety net. In Tito’s hands was my lifeline, my rope, my safety and my trust in him had to be complete. On each side of me was another troupe member and I was leaning back onto yet another lithe lady. The trapeze bar was rough in my tender hands; the practice bar had been even rougher and without any protective callouses my hands were already sore.The air was calm and comfortable; I could feel the gentle warmth of the sun to my back. Heart racing, body shaking I managed to inch that foot out over the ledge and take a leap of faith.
Gleefully Tito decided I should be first from the class to fly.There must be something about me that they inevitably recognize. Obviously I’m nervous and scared; this exercise is pushing me well beyond my comfort zone and into the wild blue yonder of the sky above. And yet, despite my obvious fright, they also seem to identify that part of me that is, if not fearless, at the very least quite courageous. Once committed to a course of action, I tend to jump right in – feet first and with conviction.
My exultation as I went sailing through the sky reverberated across the sky. Focused on his commands, I forgot all fear and discomfort and let him guide my movements to kick back and forth, gaining the momentum and to ready to swing my legs up and over the bar. Pulling my legs into the bar, prepared to swing upside down I was disappointed in myself when I missed and lost momentum.
Letting go of the bar, Tito leveraged the safety rope so that I landed softly on the net. I stood, took a step and promptly fell flat on my face. The waiting class giggled at my less than graceful face plant and subsequent army crawl to the edge of the net.
I trembled for a solid 10 minutes afterwards.
My second flight was less intimidating, more graceful and included me swinging from my knees and even managing to do an upside down split. Here’s a picture of that first, doubtful moment…