Thursday, November 3, 2011

Apply the Brakes and Enjoy the Ride

Just recently Tom and I ventured a short drive up the road and participated in a Canopy Treetop Zip-Line tour. Great fun and we both lived to tell about the adventure.

For those of you who haven't tried this, you are hooked to a steel cable and you ride suspended from a little trolley through the tree tops. It isn't hard to begin the ride as the cables start from a high point and usually descent. It's the stopping that is more of an issue. Wearing heavy gloves, you hold on to the trolley with one hand and apply appropriate pressure on the cable behind the trolley to slow down and stop. If you don't do this correctly you smash into the landing platform or the tree on which the platform is attached or if you stop too soon (as I did once) you have to turn around backward facing away from your destination and pull yourself up the cable hand over hand. I did it once but could not have done it twice in a row. I'd still be hanging out there in the breeze....

This morning I am working in my studio with a piece that is almost finished. I've been having a great experience doing the dance I like most. Put something up, adjust it, readjust, look, look more is the experience that draws me to the studio. As I danced around my workspace I started thinking about that zip-line, starting, stopping and getting stuck and smashing against a tree. It seems like such a great metaphor for how I make art and likely how many of you make art as well.

We begin the trip with gusto. Sometimes we get a little push from the guide or we just slip off into the bright fall sky sailing out into space like we know we belong. It's lovely up there and you're having a great time but then you see that things are beginning to gel and the end is coming at you very fast. At this point you have to begin to apply the right amount of pressure so that you end just right. It's subtle and sometimes things don't end well. When they don't you have to try another strategy to recover. When it does end well it's delicious and you head to the next platform for another great ride. Enjoy that last 30 feet, it can be the best part.

Tom on left and I'm on the right. Now fly away little birds and don't forget to brake.

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  1. What a great metaphor! I had to laugh though because I do end up saying hello to the wall many times:) Yet, I always manage to get back on the zip line, knowing that it is rather frightening and can end badly.

    Good posting as always-thank you:)

  2. Thank you Libby. I'll bet there is lots of dancing going on in studio's all over the world, lots of greeting our work and lots of other activity that would make excellent Youtube videos! Thankfully my activities haven't been documented without my knowledge....I think. :-^

  3. Hi Terry,
    The time I did a zip line there were folks at the other end and lots of hay! A softish landing. But the metaphor still stands -- Just Do It! I need to hear that myself this morning, in a bit of a funk about what I'm up to creatively.

  4. Hey Connie! No soft landing at the place we went....

    Sounds like you just need to trust your equipment (creative spirit) and jump off the platform ;-)

  5. wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I have never been on a zip line and yes it does look scary.....but oh so much pure fun! Peace, Mary Helen

  7. Wheeeee.....splat!!!

    Thanks Melanie and Mary Helen. It was lots of fun. The age range on the line was from 11 to 67. Neat!

  8. Thanks for posting this, Terry, and for the comparison between the zip line and the creative process. I just had the experience yesterday of putting on the brakes too soon on a piece under construction and now I have to climb back up hand over hand - laborious but then I get to zip down again (I hope).

  9. Thanks Nancy! It's hard to pull yourself up but it makes you appreciate the ride. xo, T