He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young man on the flying trapeze.
I haven’t heard that song in a long time. But that is the only line I knew. It was written by George Leybourne. Way back when. I looked up the lyrics this morning, and the entire song is a whomping saga. Like Gone with the Wind, or something.
It is about a guy and his best gal. She is the woman he hopes to marry. They go to the circus, to see that daring young man on the flying trapeze. The girl gets all wooly for the trapeze artist. Bejonkers. They go back to the circus, again, and she is really head over heels. Winking and everything. Then, one day, she runs away with him. Elopes. She leaves our normal guy, standing on the doorstep, wilted flowers, heart-broken. Forlorn. Months later, he goes back, alone, to the “traveling” show, and there she is. With the trapeze artist. And she IS a trapeze artist. Flying through the air. Happy as a Lark.
And I only knew one line.
The song came to mind, because I was thinking about balance. And who has better balance than a tight-rope walker, flying trapeze guy. But just now it hit me. Maybe they are not the same person. Two people. Maybe they each have their own qualities up there. In the air. The tightrope walker has great balance, calmness, steadiness. And the trapeze artist has the ability to whirl, and tumble, fly, and catch in a moment of spontaneity.
I think that is us. I think that is life.
Sometimes, when we are negotiating the things in our days, we need complete balance. Yes. We work to establish balance in our lives, so that we are centered. We are imperturbable. When it comes to making decisions, we can act with a cadence that has a certain harmony to it. In those moments, when we are stable and level, there is a peace in us, that we recognize. And it feels very good. We inch our feet, one after the other, along that very tight rope. We are sure-footed. We are level.
Then there are times when our lives feel like it has gotten out of balance. People and things are tumbling at us from all directions. We are flying, high up above, precarious. Everything is up in the air, spinning, and whirling, and turning. So we lock our knees across the bar and do our best to be strong. To make those mid-air catches. To swing up at just the right moment, so that our open arms are there to receive the next spinning, twirling moment. We are pliable. Adaptable. Flexible. We spin. We twist. We move.
It depends on the matter at hand.
It all depends on the place we need to be. It depends on who we need to be.
The person of great steadiness, and balance. Or the one who can lift and catch and spin.
Both are daring and remarkable.
Both are commendable and fine.
And we simply, be the person we need to be.
Then, there are those of us among the 52 clowns. Waiting in the clown car. Any moment now. Any moment.
As they say. It is not my circus. Those are not my monkeys.
“Our heaven is their hell, said God. I like a balanced universe.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Tent
“You must let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise.”
― Michael Ende, The Neverending Story
“Evermore in the world is this marvelous balance of beauty and disgust, magnificence and rats.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson