I was walking downtown on Red River when I first saw it.

“What is that?” I asked Ross. He turned his head in the direction of my finger, gesturing toward the penthouse suites of a nearby hotel. There were people dangling out the windows.

“What are you … OH,” said Ross.  “Now I see them.”

They were tiny angels on precarious wings, gliding across guests’ balconies and launching themselves out into the downtown sky. I stopped walking and just stood there, trying to understand what I was seeing. It wasn’t heaven (it was just the Radisson), but to me, the sight was glorious.

I wanted it.

For the next four years, I researched the dance company, saw that they taught classes, noted their start dates. “Someday,” I told myself.

And then on New Year’s 2011, I said,

“Enough. You will take one class. Just one, to say you did it.”

My best friend Kim and I went to that class, and Reader, we could barely climb up the length of the cloth. I mean it was pathetic.

“This! (pant) is! (pant) so hard!” we wheezed.  Apparently, we weren’t as in shape as we thought we were.

We tangled the cloth, messed up all the moves, landed on our heads. I cried at least once.

(You all know what’s coming next, but I’m going to tell it to you anyway.)

At the encouragement of my teacher, I took a few more classes. At some point, I got a really hard move. “Is everyone seeing this?  Is EVERYONE seeing this??” I screeched at my classmates, who clapped for me in support. I hugged the cloth to me like a lover, relieved that we finally understood each other.

I measure my time in aerial silks the way I would an infant, and right now, my baby is 19 months old. She’s given me a lot more than I expected. Maybe because it’s so physically demanding and just a wee bit dangerous, but silks is the one thing that allows me to take out all my failings as a professional, as a wife and as a friend, set them down on the ground, and focus. On just one thing. While I climb away into the air, away from the constant movie reel always playing in the back of my mind, pushing myself up and up until my heart starts beating.

My studio, Blue Lapis Light, is putting on a show next month at the Long Center — Heaven~Earth~One — and I hope you’ll consider attending. Here are some pictures of the company rehearsing.

From the website:

“In September of 2012, Blue Lapis Light will expand upon our successful show, ONE (2010) on the terrace of the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Heaven~Earth~One will feature dancers on the terrace ring, columns, plaza, aerial silks and zip lines. Heaven-Earth-One depicts the integration of light into dark and will offer a visual journey of beauty, movement and hope for the community.” 

Tickets may be purchased here for one of their nine show dates, running Sept. 9 through Sept. 19. Trust me. You’ll love it.