Word Count 499
Funambulist—a Solo Pursuit
By B.A. Sarvey
I am a funambulist—not to be confused with a som-nambulist—although I may unwittingly sleep-walk.
I once watched a man walk a wire over Niagara Falls. For days after that, I tied a clothesline between two chairs and tried balancing on it. The chairs kept falling over. I graduated to tying the rope between trees. No success. After meeting hard ground multiple times, I gave up. Well, my mother, watching out the window, may have had something to do with that decision.
The fascination with skimming from point A to point B, high above the crowd, never left me. In the intervening years, I have learned a thing or two about funambulism. Focus on a point ahead of you. Stay steady on that goal. Don’t EVER look down. And NEVER look back.
My tight-rope-walking, these days, is figurative, though the same principles apply. My naturally nimble self has navigated life’s landscape like a single-minded balancing act. With much bravery and determination, I have managed to walk the dog, feed the cat, take out the garbage, pay my taxes, do laundry, put gas in the car and food on the table. In other words: survive. All as a solo act. Granted, I don’t have to do all those things every day. Only some of them, like the cat and dog thing, or the eating thing, are daily delights. The gas, the garbage, the laundry—those are weekly. The taxes…well, you get the gist. “Wait,” you say. “Those things don’t take dexterity. Most adults manage to enter one side of life and come out the other with the boxes checked on that chore chart.” Ahh—but do they do it with my panache? Have they worked bravely without a net? How about that pole for balance? Sometimes I misplace mine, and forge ahead without regard for my own safety. Best of all, I do it while smiling.
Fun-amublism by its very name implies walking through life having FUN. Mindful of this, I see every challenge, large or small, as an adventure, an opportunity to experience life with child-like exuberance. Washing dishes? Delightful. Washing dishes with one grandchild clinging to my leg and another pulling all the pots, pans and cans from the cupboard, while making supper? A super calamitous fun event. Chasing the dog who is chasing the cat and deftly avoiding a collision with horse and buggy? No big deal. An everyday occurrence for me.
So why was I sniveling on the ground? A lifetime of derring-do, undone by…the weather? Ok, extreme weather. The car refused to start, the pipes froze, the furnace quit. Suddenly, the “fun” was gone from “funambulist”. I didn’t want to play this game anymore. Being on my own wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.
My confidence teetered. I didn’t stay focused. I looked down. I looked back. I failed to smile. Rules forgotten, I fell. Spring is coming, though. I will prevail. Burst pipes aside, I’m looking forward to fun-ambulizing again.