You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams

Location: Kentucky, United States

Thursday, July 03, 2003

The right kind of tension

One gift I keep asking my wife for, but have yet to receive, is a high wire stretched across the backyard.

No, really, I’ve researched this. I have priced ¾-inch steel cable at a store that sells logging equipment. I’ve looked at come-alongs and posts big enough for the tension I would need to support my weight. I figure I can get the whole thing, homemade balance pole included, for around three-hundred dollars.

Okay, I don’t mean a high, high wire, I can’t afford a net, and death defying is not what I’m after here all right?

As a, (not very bright) teenager, I climbed buildings, bridges, and fire towers. I walked beams and ledges, handrails and cables were I could find them. My nickname in school was “Monkee” Tucker. My band teacher gave it to me after finding me in the rafters of the gymnasium. So this is not a wild hair or mid-life crisis yearning, I have wanted one for years. The idea really crystallized after seeing the first Cirque du Soleil film. Do you remember the tightrope walker? He played an oboe solo while walking the wire. The haunting sound of the oboe as he walked back and forth on the wire made a deep impression on me.

Personally, I think everyone needs a circus talent. I can juggle, a little. Using two patterns, I can keep three balls in the air, and sometimes throw one under a leg or behind my back without losing the whole group. Juggling requires intense attention, and mentally can wear you out after a few minutes.

Tight rope walking though, in a Zen sort of way, is very relaxing. You clear the mind so the body can do what it already knows how to do, walk in balance. The height of the wire really doesn’t matter; (yeah right) the focus is inward. Tight rope walking is about controlling your mind, not walking on the wire. You find this calm, confident place in your mind, an almost meditative state. If you think about falling, you do.

I think this would be a good thing for the boys to learn as well. The metaphors for life are elementary and easy to see. The confidence gained would help them in every area, and it is just “too stinking cool”, yes it is.

Actually, Beverle has offered several times, including this past Father’s Day, to let me put up a wire, but boring grown-up that I am, when it comes to putting out the cash I balk at such an eccentric gift. It is too bad really. Next time though I am going through with it, pictures will be posted.

If you could learn any circus skill, which one would it be?

Share it with us in the comments.


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