Risk is something circus people talk about constantly, but there is something private about it too. The risk is an unspoken contract the circus artist makes with fate and determination against gravity—and a contract only the individual can make for themselves. What results is the convergence of motion, force and time upon a plane with a body or bodies (and sometimes objects.) But the level of risk and the perception of it are all relative. To the little kid who sees a silks artist plunging 15 fit headfirst towards a crash pad, the risk is as enormous as the shock and awe they experience seeing it. But to the artist who spent thousands of hours perfecting their craft, who inspects their equipment regularly and who treats their body like a prize bull, risk is a calculation that usually pays off with endorphins, elation and audience appreciation.
Compare that calculated risk with the ones people are taking every day blindly during the coronavirus, and circus suddenly seems safe. Will going to the grocery store end infecting you, or will the food sustain your life for an extra week or two? Will going to your job as an essential worker give you coronavirus and infect a vulnerable family member? Or do you have to do it to pay the rent and keep those family members fed and clothed with a roof over their heads? These are the types of decisions people are being called upon to make during the most awful risk assessment game ever, where the odds are obscured yet appear to be darkly favoring the house. But what can we do besides be here, adjust, accept, and adapt? We could rush headlong into the void and expose ourselves (and people we love and know) to illness without considering the risks or we can take calculated risks as needed, just as we have learned to do through circus training. Becau...
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