Two years ago I learned to play a Wii Sports game. It consisted of atempting to traverse thin twine stretched between the roof of one impossibly high building and another while purple creatures with bear-trap mouths snapped at my ankles. Even though I played while standing in the relative safety of my own first-floor livingroom, the game poked some of my more unreasonable fears right in the eye, fears like becoming caught in a bear trap and having to chew off my own leg or being unable to prevent my legs from inexplicably jumping me right off the top of a very tall building. Consequently, I wasn’t very good at the game.
Once I imagined I would be very good at walking a tightrope. The Flying Wallendas made a dramatic and unfortunate splash when I was a teenager, but you could see how easy it probably was. All you had to do was carefully place one foot in front of the other while holding a long pole. Why, anyone could do that! It’s no more difficult than walking. The height thing bothered me, though, since by then I was refusing to go up ladders or anything higher than a small stack of cats.
So it’s odd to find myself in this place now, feeling that I am stretched impossibly thin and impossibly far from the ground. There’s no safety net. I don’t know the rules. And the last thing I want is to have to chew my own leg off. I sit and breathe and remember what my heart tells me and wonder if it is enough, if I can find balance.