From your perch over the west side highway, you see it all, in a haze of pink tinted twilight brilliance.
Left hand gripping the ladder, right arm extended towards the very tip of the Freedom Tower, you wait as the bar glides towards you.
It's your big moment.
You catch the sandpaper-rough white bar in your right hand, release your left hand. Pelvis and chest forward, chin up, you prepare to dismount.
You bend your knees as your toes creep over the edge of the platform.
You leap forward into nothingness.
The wind catches you, ushers you forward.
Your eyes are open, yet you see nothing, hear nothing, you are simply one with the wind. You are flying.
Tucking your knees towards your chin, you struggle to bring your calves over the bar, lock your knees.
Releasing your hands, you arch your back, arms outstretched. This time you see everything. The setting sun, the halo of orange and pink around the glistening Freedom Tower. The soccer game on the field of green. The cars, speeding along the highway. Bikes, baby carriages, roller blades. It's the perfect early summer evening.
You regain focus, pulling your arms towards the bar, you wrap your hands around its rough frame. Slowly, one by one, you release your legs. The summer breeze envelopes you in a tight embrace as you release your hands and descend into the mesh safety net.
After two decisive bounces, you come to a stop. Slowly re-focusing on the space you now occupy after being space-less, you perceive the ground, the chairs, the instructor, the spectators.
A quick forward roll, brings you off of the net and onto solid ground. You are released from your harness. You have done many things in your life, but never have you taken flight- until now.
When I was pregnant with my second son, somewhere around the tail end of that second trimester mark, right around the time when I developed a hernia and began to wobble like a deranged duck, I promised myself that when it was over, when the discomfort passed, when my body was once again mine, I would do something spectacular, something physical to mark my return to myself.
Driving to work one afternoon, I found myself stuck in a traffic jam on the west side highway. For forty-five minutes I was glued to my spot, surrounded by taxi cabs and trucks. I looked to the left, to the right, I had no clear line of sight to see what was causing the jam. Then something caught my attention, something that looked like a flying person. Two flying people to be exact. Two flying people gliding on a singular trapeze, hand in hand like a circus act. I was entranced.
While my fellow commuters honked their horns and unleashed a furry of profanity as only New Yorkers know how to do, I took in the show above. One by one, two by two, I watched as people flew through the air, some turning flips, others practicing hand catches, others falling flat on their faces (hilarity) and I decided that I wanted to do that, whatever it was.
Fast forward, several months later and it was my turn. For my birthday this year, my husband surprised me with a trapeze class at the Trapeze School of New York. It was my time to fly!
There were eight of us in total. Two old-timers, the rest of us brand new.
The class was two hours long. We practiced each maneuver on the floor before climbing the ladder and attempting the feat in mid-air.
It was thrilling.
It was exhausting.
Trapeze is so much harder than it looks, but once you're up there, once you're flying in tandem with the wind, the feeling is indescribable.
After seven or eight rounds, I managed to swing by my knees, stuck a back-flip dismount, and came really close to a hand-catch, all while taking in the best views in New York City (I swear I could see my Brooklyn brownstone!)
I'm going back!
I will have to wait, since I did sprain my right shoulder (a mixture of pre-existing mommy shoulder issues and hanging onto the trapeze for dear life and landing awkwardly in the net).
Sprained shoulder aside (and I mean, what is a sprained shoulder after going through child birth anyway) a trapeze class is a true adventure!
If you're in New York or are planning a vacation in New York and are interested in taking flight trapeze style, schedule your class with the Trapeze School of New York today. It will be one of the coolest things you've ever done!
The Trapeze School of New York (353 West St, New York, NY 10014)