The Daring Old Girl on the Flying Trapeze

There’s a moment, less than a breath in time, when your hands are free and you’re not holding onto the bar.  You’re reaching back with one hand, trying, trying, crying to hold on to the safe, the familiar.  You’re reaching out with the other for what you believe to be the future as you imagine it will be.  Better, safer, quieter.

I first heard the theory of the flying trapeze in yoga class.  It was described as the place where change happens.  Then I thought about it.  A lot.  I dreamt about it.  Often.  I talked it through with my best friend.  Bad choice.  This friend flies through the air, lets go of the bar, does a double flip, comes up grinning and grabs the next bar with the barest of fingertips – already looking  for the next swing.

I talked to my therapist.  Told her about that space and held my hands up to show her.  Fingertips grazing the bar from the past and reaching, reaching, reaching for the one swinging toward me.  “It’s not close enough,” I say.  I can’t reach it.  “You can,” she says.  “You will.”  I breathe.

Then I learn there’s a place,, where you can actually learn to fly on a trapeze.  I could fly.  If I could just let go. 

When my daughter was little, so tiny, I would lift her to the jungle gym bars.  At first she would swing from one bar with both hands and be so tickled to be swinging in the air.  Then, one day, she saw the next bar and her tiny, chubby, strong little hand reached instictively for it.  Another visit to the park, and another bar.  Soon, she was crossing the great divide and I was the alligator snapping at her heels.  Giggles all the way.  So strong was that baby girl.

I see her now, growing up, facing each bar as it swings toward her and never hesitating to reach and grasp.  Her resolve and determination are steely and her eyes keen as she looks for the next bar, always setting her sight beyond the one she can easily reach.

Was I ever that daring young girl?  Maybe not but maybe so.  She’s in here somewhere.  I have proof in the leaps and twirls and spins of my daughter as she navigates bar after bar.  If she wasn’t in me, I couldn’t let go of my child.  If I didn’t somewhere believe that the next bar would swing into life, I would hold on to her ferociously so she wouldn’t fall.

So maybe I’ll take the lesson. 


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