I stand on a narrow platform, twenty-five feet—the height of a two-story building—in the air. Although it’s cold in the gym—a converted metal warehouse that refuses to warm—my palms are sweaty, and I feel beads of cool sweat dampening my face. I look down at a huge safety net running the entire length and width of the trapeze rig. The net seems hundreds of feet below me. Standing high on my toes, I reach out and grasp a trapeze bar, taking deep breaths to steady my nerves, worried I might hyperventilate. The gym is utterly silent while all eyes are on me. It’s my first time flying out of lines, that is, after several months of taking flying trapeze classes at least twice a week, I’m finally ready to swing without the safety lines. Today, for the first time, I’m flying free.
Being a flyer—the freedom, and thrill, and terror of flying—gives me moments of being in the zone, when time slows down to something so slow you can touch it. A flying trapeze trick lasts about eighteen seconds from beginning to end; flyers move at about twenty-five miles per hour. Imagine slowing that down to the point where it feels as if time has stopped. I feel motionless, still in midair, completely free. No worries, no gravity, no limits.
The above is an excerpt from the Introduction to my new book, Flying Free: Life Lessons Learned On The Flying Trapeze, available in digital format (downloads to any computer, tablet, handheld device, and Kindle) on Amazon.com.