Last week I was on my afternoon walk, working up a too-soon-for-summer-sweat and wondering where the magic was. It’s spring, and it’s already hot. I forgot my sunscreen. I am not ready for sleeveless. It wasn’t the mind clearing, creatively nurturing excursion I had hoped for.
At the park, there were two young men practicing their balancing skills on colorful tightropes, which were attached to the trees.
The ropes weren’t high off the ground, only a few feet. They took turns jumping up, taking a few steps, bouncing, wobbling, waving their arms, and jumping down. One encouraged the other, and they traded places and did it again. They didn’t seem to be restricted by the same rules of gravitational force that kept me grounded.
For a quick moment I imagined asking for a turn. In reality, I knew that wouldn’t end well, so I settled for watching.
I wasn’t the only one. A few children wandered over from the playground to join me. We all watched with more than just a little awe.
Jump up, step, bounce, wobble, wave, bounce, jump down.
After a few cycles, it occurred to me that they actually used the bounce. In fact, they initiated the bounce.
As if it were part of the plan. Part of their practice. They bounced to get the momentum to propel themselves forward.
So they could practice balancing. Wow. Weird.
The bounce that would turn unto a wobble, then the wave, and another bounce, and then the jump down. And repeat.
As they each got stronger, they added more bounces. Higher bounces. Until there were more bounces than wobbles. The bounces seemed to add to their confidence, and to their stability.
I kept on walking, but perhaps with a very quiet, very small, almost imperceptible, bounce in my own step. Wondering, what intentional bouncing might look like in my own life?
PS. Curious? I was too, so I poked around on this tightrope thing, which is really called a slackline. Check out Faith Dickey, aka That Slackline Girl and this beautiful video of her, balancing through nature. Really, take four minutes.