Seeking Solace in the Sky


wpb flyingThe scenery doesn’t matter. The temperature becomes obsolete. Every noise fades into the distance and the only sound I hear is the quickened thump of my heart and the rushing of the wind. The air envelopes me and thoughts become a thing of the past. There is no time to think if you are becoming one with the sky.

I am strong, I am focused, I am airborne.

I am free.

This is not a place for thinking. Worry and doubt and fear cannot find room to foster in a heart that is this open. The mortgage, the horrible boss, the illness, the pain — all become secondary to the primal need for freedom and the fleeting chance to be separate from absolutely everything else.

Many do not realize just how much gravity holds them down. The need to find even fleeting relief from its oppressive hand is deep seated in human nature and unconsciously sought by all.

_DSC8734_clr_aaOddly enough, the first time I experienced a real reprieve from gravity was in New York City in a large white tent. After a childhood as a competitive gymnast, a college education in theatre, and a year traveling as a tour director, I was desperately searching for a way to merge all of my widespread passions.

I walked into the stark and badly carpeted space with feigned confidence and stared up 30 feet to the small platform where I would soon be. As I watched, a ridiculously fit man jumped off that platform, swung out into the abyss and dismounted into the net with a complex assortment of flips and twists. A smiling instructor with a fantastic afro strapped a belt on me, rambled off a slew of directions and hooked me into a safety line to climb on up to my, as yet, unbeknownst future.

I remember very little detail from the next two hours of my first flying trapeze class.

My gymnastics background gave me an edge and I easily grasped the tricks they asked me to perform. I know that even though joy was radiating out of every inch of my being, my entire body was shaking after every turn. What has implanted itself firmly in my memory is the intense feeling of freedom and the inability to think of anything else for those few moments when you are flying through the air. At that time in my life, I was freshly heart broken, dealing with the death of a close friend, and working three jobs to pay my outrageously huge college loans and make ends meet in the big bad city. I was irritable, confused, overwhelmed and completely exhausted. In the air, none of this was able to touch me, and I soared freely, high above all my petty troubles.

__DSC1709_clr_aI have since gone on to make flying trapeze, and other circus arts, my career. I have travelled all over the world, flying at trapeze rigs in faraway lands, recreating that 20 seconds of airborne peace. Every trapeze has its own flavor, its own signature feeling, its own vibe, but they all provide the same freedom. In Pennsylvania, the freedom is delivered along with a healthy dose of fresh backwoods air and eagles soaring right along with you. In Seattle, the feeling comes surrounded by aged wood, rusting mechanical trolleys, and an audience on a balcony at the same level as your flight. In the Caribbean, it’s a sea of blue sky and bluer ocean with palm fronds blowing gently in the fragrant breeze.

philly shooting starMy mission in life is to grasp this opportunity at every possible moment, in every possible location. Flying through the air has become my sanity, my peace, my steady. It is not for the faint of heart. Independence is not something given to the meek. You must be willing to take the leap, to let go of the past, to experience something out of your comfort zone. You must be willing to lead an interesting life and to shed the conventional chains of normal society. You must be willing to be free.

About the AuthorCaitlyn Larsson is a wandering circus vagrant, unable to stay in one place for extended periods of time, and always on the lookout for the next amazing experience.  She teaches flying trapeze and other circus arts to pay the bills, writes technical articles to fend off the college loans from her days at NYU, and performs as often as possible to feed her creative soul.  Here is a link to her incredibly intermittent blog, Circus Vagrant.


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9 responses to “Seeking Solace in the Sky

  1. Caitlyn perfectly describes the journey many of us have taken as we fly high on a trapeze. Gravity and stress are jointly defied when swinging, twisting and turning in the air..if only for a few moments. Those moments then see us through many ups and downs in daily life. When I am confronted by a difficulty or fear in life, I simply say to myself, “I’ve stepped off a trapeze platform” and nothing seems insurmountable. Thank you Caitlyn!

  2. Love this! I’ve had the pleasure of learning flying trapeze with Caitlyn in PA. I couldn’t have described the experience better. It’s the perfect combination of fun and exercise and stress relief and magic and adrenaline rush!

  3. This perfectly explains my addiction. I’m so glad Caitlyn is a part of it and hope I can be as awesome as her one day 😉

  4. This is so beautiful and so true. No matter how trying things may be, for those moments in the air everything else is forgotten and there is nothing but the freedom and joy of flying…and never more so than when I fly with you Caitlyn!

  5. “There is no time to think if you are becoming one with the sky.” That feeling of being 100% present is so liberating. Everything else just fades away. I’m so glad it was you hanging in that trap for my first knee hang to start me on my trapeze journey. Great article Caitlyn!

  6. Caitlyn, you made my eyes well up with tears… how accurately and beautifully you describe such a unique experience. Thank you for sharing your love of trapeze with us, and thank you for showing me my wings! Huge hug from the Caribbean 😉

  7. Great article. Inspiring, beautiful descriptions of something Caitlyn loves. Very well written. Her enthusiasm and insight makes me want to try trapeze-and have those feelings of freedom. Awesome. Thanks for sharing Caitlyn

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