Monday, November 15, 2010

Surviving the Circus

"I guess l'll never get to do that." This is a relatively new thought that's popped into my mind in the last few years. It doesn't come to me when I'm thinking about travelling, or studying art history or perhaps even writing a novel one day. It comes to mind when I think of things like, I guess I'll never be able to join the circus, or I guess I'll never be a tap dancer in a Broadway show. It kind of makes me sad, because it speaks of getting older, and time passing. We really can't go back, we can only move forward. Ever since I can remember I wanted to join the circus or be a hoofer.  I'll save my tap dancing escapades for another time.

 My mom isn't here any longer to ask, and dad wouldn't remember, but I'd love to ask what possessed them to take these two pictures. Did they plan some day to remind me of my circus performer days? Maybe...

My wanting to join the circus was connected to my ability to fly, something I was absolutely sure I could do when I was a kid. In my childhood dreams I could effortlessly 'lift off' from wherever I was standing. These dreams were so real and vivid, a feeling of lightness and warmth stayed with me long afterwards. Once in awhile, even now, I still dream of flying.

Circus High Wire Aerialist-  Nice teeth...
As a kid I remember jumping off roofs or whizzing down the clothesline in a cape and flying off before hitting the pole. The only place I could think of that needed people who possessed such a talent was the circus. I could join as one of the 'flying trapeze' artists. I can only remember going to the circus a couple times. The trapeze performers were the highlight, closely followed by the high wire act.  

My circus career aspirations came to an abrupt end one day while performing my own version of a high wire act. In front of a small audience of friends, I demonstrated my ability to hang from a wire clothesline in the basement, by my teeth. I'm not going to wrack my brain trying to figure out what possessed me to think I could actually do this.  Suffice to say it didn't turn out as planned. I still had my baby teeth in front, at least until the wire broke through and got stuck between what remained of my two front teeth. I was extricated by my dad with a pair of wire cutters. The dentist had a field day, and my circus career was at a standstill.  

Circus Cyclist 

I took my act underground for about two years, then for whatever reason I resurfaced with another life defying act. This one included my bike. I only ever had one two-wheeler bike. We couldn't afford to buy progressively larger bikes as we grew older. This was a ladies adult blue bike I got for my eighth birthday. When I first learned to ride it, I remember the seat hitting me in the back of the head when I was on the down pedal. The pedals had wooden blocks on them at first. We'd attach pieces of cardboard to our bike spokes with wooden clothespins so the bike made a great whirring noise. This act was an imitation of those wonderful cyclists in the circus who can ride their bikes while standing on their bike seat. I think the picture tells the story. I think a doctor was involved this time as well as a dentist...and just when I was getting my adult teeth.   

1 comment:

  1. Still laughing as I type. Watched Rick Mercer last night and he and Jann Arden were on some monster zipline in Calgary. You take an elevator up to the top of a tower and zip down on the line with a parachute it's so fast! I would NEVER do this but I['ll be in Calgary next summer and would gladly take the picture of you arriving back on land.
    Ter T.