Circus!

by Kate

The Greatest Show on Earth swept into town last week on the heels of the hurricane. Pittsburgh was spared but sodden by storm Sandy. We have almost forgotten what the sun looks like after rain set in to stay, whipping down the bright leaves and leaving bare branches under dull grey skies. In the midst of a long dark afternoon last week, I was sipping coffee in an attempt to revive my spirits and buried in the newspaper when I came across a cheerful article about a man on fire being shot out of a cannon at 65 mph. The circus was coming to town!

In this weather, the frenetic brightness of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was a welcome change. Speaking of change, the newspaper article also informed me that on opening night, relatively inexpensive tickets were available. I was immediately sold. I called my husband, packed up the toddler and the baby, and headed off to the circus. I’m so glad we did.

I have always wholeheartedly loved the circus- the pageantry, acrobatics, the absolutely fantastic costuming…

The dust and the danger and steel cables and spotlights, the lions and tigers and musk and mystery of vast elephants appearing from behind the curtain. An elephant in America is always unexpected, and always awe inspiring.

I am fascinated by aerialists spinning through space in a beautiful juxtaposition of great control and wild freedom.

And I am amused and intrigued by occasional glimpses of ennui and internal dramas in the faces and interactions of the circus folk.

Thank goodness for that newspaper article, though. The electricity and energy of the circus was the perfect antidote to the long dark rainy days of autumn.

When I was younger, I yearned to join the circus. Thankfully, there are feathers and glitz and glitter on adventures like this one  right here in Pittsburgh, and even aerial silks classes available at the dance studio where I teach, as Clare wrote about here. I don’t need to join the circus right now- but I’m so glad that I could go see it and share that experience with my family.

A night at the circus is a beautiful thing.

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