Photo: Mel Walton
58 Mississippi… 59 Mississippi ….60!
Upside down. Balancing on my hands. Could this really be me?
Around this time last year I was telling my friend Lena about my sister Louise’s crazy birthday party idea. “It’s going to be acrobatic”, I typed cautiously, sending her a link to The Silk Workshop.
To my surprise, Lena actually knew what I was talking about: “AERIALS!!!!!!!!! Damn, I’d LOVE to do that!!”
I quickly admitted that I was just hoping some witchcraft was involved in this aerials thing. I knew I was likely to need strong witchcraft to even get me off the ground. After all I was pushing fifty. Also, not too long ago, after an ill-considered attempt to jump over a log in a local park, I had in fact broken my leg. As a deskbound and accident-prone academic I was proficient at verbal gymnastics but not much else.
Still, Lena’s enthusiastic reply convinced me to go haul my leggings out of the closet: “It’s AERIALS!!!! Of course there’s witchcraft included!!”
After a hilarious first class together with my mom (73!) and some brave friends, Louise and I resolved to keep on going. To my amazement, for the first time my climber sister and I had fun doing a physical activity together. I could not climb at all, but the feeling of hanging upside down in the air was completely compelling. I knew if I was to do this with Louise, I would need to spend at least four times as much time training. She, of course, had pulled herself up 8 metres of fabric to touch the warehouse ceiling during her first class.
Just a year after that first introductory class I can confirm that there really is witchcraft and all sorts of magic involved in aerial silks and circus in general. It was a strong magic that got me through what has been the most difficult year of my life, and also helped me regain confidence in my own strength and new insights into my priorities.
Photo: Louise Walton
I still consider myself a beginner at aerial witchcraft, but over the year The Silk Workshop has became a home away from home for me. The patient trainers and inspiring fellow-students are also the most wonderful friends. Thank you so much to my amazing sister for suggesting the idea and making time to hang out together so often. Thank you to Lena for making me believe in witchcraft. And most of all, thank you to Nicky and Roxanne for all your careful encouragement and support.