This afternoon, American Magician David Blane fulfilled a childhood dream. He attached himself to a bundle of helium-filled latex balloons and lifted off to 24,000 feet in the air. One at a time, he dropped five pound sand bags, that were attached to his waist, back towards the ground, which allowed him to gain more and more altitude. After he reached 18,000 feet, he entered what is called Class A airspace, this is controlled airspace where airliners fly and where he required Air Traffic Control clearance. At 19,000 feet, he donned on an oxygen mask as at that point in the atmosphere the air is thin. At 24,000 feet, he released two safeties and began a free dive before pulling his parachute at 7,000 feet off the ground.
On the way up, he talked to his daughter via radios. When he landed, he said “This is all for you. Je T’aime.” She actually got to see her Dad fly from a bundle of balloons.
Two years of planning had come together with a huge safety team behind him. A couple weeks ago, our sector was at sea level. And one at a time, the government removed another five pound sandbag from our waist. There are still several sand bags hanging there in the form of restrictions, but our safety teams seek clearance to lift us up a little higher towards our goals. Our better normal.
It has been amazing the last couple weeks to learn about the work that artists across Ireland, and around the world, are doing as part of Dublin Fringe Festival. Some works presented online, others in person, but no work the way we are used to. It has challenged us to find a traffic pattern that brings us back, and not into the dangerous cliffs nearby.
There will be setbacks along the way. And there have been. There will be safety checks as well, to make sure our return is safe for all involved – those on stage, those behind the scenes, and the audiences that come to be moved and entertained. The currents of the pandemic will eventually not guide our ascent, and we will be free to freefall, fly, towards our dreams. With a new experience on our belts, and a little less weight pulling us down, and hopefully with a clearer path forward.