There is a cut-through from what passes as the business center of town to my home, not much more than a mile of residential streets, across the slash of usually idle railroad tracks, where a flimsy gate stands ready to drop in the event of an oncoming locomotive. In three years, I’ve been stopped only a handful of times.
Traveling from home to town is largely uneventful.
Ah, but the journey from town to home beckons like some wild gypsy, for that’s where the road rises most noticeably to the roofline of houses, green yards far below. Two narrow lanes with barely a spit of soil on either side flanked by a steep, straight drop – a car length or two – is enough to spark a frisson of fear, or is that excitement? – as I move across this guardrail-less land bridge.
As I near it, I know what’s coming. An involuntary clenching of muscles, a skittery shiver – oddly compelling, a momentary sense of falling, a gulping glimpse of danger. If I am occupied in my thoughts with weighty matters, I don’t notice the drop-off, the muscles remain loose, there is no sense of fear then. The rush of daily living has obscured it, hidden it from me. Yet if I remain in this perfect moment, I do not allow that to happen.
So there is a reason I love to drive here: I know this place; I covet this feeling. It’s a reminder, a quantum flirt of sorts. I feel … alive.
In The Bigger Game, author Rick Tamlyn reserves a spot for just this moment, and he calls it “GULP.” It’s that moment when we stand there, ready to jump over the precipice, to take some Bold Action that’s so perfectly right for us yet oh, so frightening to consider. That same wash of fear and tingle of excitement lives here, too.
It may be a saying of yes – or a bidding of goodbye – to a relationship. It may be that moment before plowing forward into a new life, or that sudden realization that a comfortable, long-held belief is no longer true. It may be a multitude of gasping moments, but they are real, they are the stuff of authenticity.
WHAT it is hardly matters. THAT it is, does. And that we can learn to recognize it matters most of all.
Mathieu Lavoie’s rendition of Let Me Fall for Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam evokes this moment so perfectly for me. It’s so real, so honest, so true that it brings me to tears. Not that I hope you’ll cry, but I hope it speaks to you as well.
Let me fall. Let me climb.
There’s a moment when fear and dreams must collide.
Someone I am is waiting for my courage,
The one I want, The one I will become will catch me.
All I ask, all I need: Let me open whichever door I might open.
I will dance so freely, holding on to no one.
You can hold me only if you, too, will fall away
from all these useless fears and chains.
Let me fall, and if I fall,
There’s no reason to miss this one chance,
this perfect moment.
Just let me fall.
(Keith Edwards, Keith Sewell, Wendy Waldman).