Last Sunday, I had the joy of watching one of my oldest and best friends take her first trapeze lesson. M was a willing participant, but she admitted to me on the drive to the Trapeze Experience rig that she was a bit nervous. She was in good hands, though, as our facilitators Russell, Spencer, and Gary are fantastic with new flyers. While M took her ground lesson, I headed up to the platform to being my swing and layout practice.
M struggled a bit on her first attempt at the knee hang, but by her third try she had it perfect. Shortly thereafter, Gary climbed up into the catchtrap, and the next thing M knew she had successfully completed her first mid-air transfer on the flying trapeze! It was so exciting for her; it was also exciting for me, though, to see her feel the thrill of flying. After several other successful catches, M learned a new trick on her very first day.
To make the experience even better, our class was the final session at which “Uncle Tony” Steele was facilitating. A legend in the trapeze world, Uncle Tony has been flying since he was a child. He is the greatest living trapeze artist, having trained people from everyday folks like me to circus performers to celebrities to stuntpeople. Uncle Tony told some pretty corny jokes, but his enthusiasm for trapeze– and sharing his knowledge with others– was infectious. It was also pretty amazing to see him, at age 74, still throw a double back flip.
My lesson for the day came not so much in my work on the trapeze– it was a rather poor day for me, actually– but in my head and heart. From M I learned how fulfilling it can be to watch someone learn something new. Certainly I get that lesson regularly from my kids, but to see an adult tackle a new challenge is equally rewarding. And to see Uncle Tony still doing what he loves with such grace and power and fun is inspirational. It was a full body-mind sense of happiness, completeness, and exhaustion at the end of the lesson.
Is there anything better than sharing something you love with someone you love? I think not.