Thursday, August 11, 2011

Under the Big Top

What exactly is it about the Circus that draws people from all over town to crowd together under a big top...or sports complex (in the case of Southern California)? This thought has been puzzling me ever since we left Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey's two hour production last Sunday. Now, don't get me wrong. The Circus was exactly what I had played it up to be, and the kids were certainly not disappointed with the bright lights, loud music, wild animals, overpriced popcorn, and amazing seats that were center ring and six rows from the floor. 

However, I can't help but marvel what it is about the Circus that captivates the audiences' attention and sparks the imagination young and old alike? 

Could it be the brightly colored wardrobe, glossy red noses, and ridiculous antics of the personable clowns?

Or, the amazement one feels watching an Asian elephant, who has five toes and weighs as much as 80 adults paint a picture? 

Perhaps, the ridiculous clown noses that only stay on the munchkins face long enough to snap a quick picture?

Possibly, the death defying stunts bravely performed over three stories high, by the skilled tight rope
Maybe, the excitement one feels watching wild animals run around a circus ring, and perform astonishing tricks just a few feet away from their seat?
Whatever it is about the Circus that tickles ones fancy, and draws them in may be different for every individual under the big top. However, the pure excitement, honest wonder, and utmost awe is displayed on every individuals' face before the end of the experience.  And, for me it is probably these feelings coupled with the look on my daughters' faces that gravitate me to the Circus.

I can't help but think that as one ages, experiences life, and becomes more aware of right and wrong, good and bad, as well as actions and consequences, the wonder, excitement, and awe of experiences such as the Circus are toned down. As I sat in my seat a few feet from some of the most dangerous wild animals in the world, I couldn't help but think about what would happen if one of them, or all of them for that matter, decided to behave like an untrained animal. And, as the tight rope walkers precariously balanced themselves several stories from the ground, thoughts such as hospitals, brain damage, and even death entered my mind. 

But, when I think about the look on my sweet girls' faces, with their jaws slightly dropped, twinkling eyes widely taking in the magnitude of the show, I realize that their thoughts were far from mine. Their innocent beauties were captivated at that very moment, and they were spellbound by the happenings in the ring. Slowly, my jaded thoughts began to dissipate, and I started to see the Circus in the youthful eyes of my children. The  show went on, the animals behaved, the stunts were performed flawlessly, and we all departed the arena amazed. 

Now, I am left wondering about the other experiences we have in store that will so clearly paint the difference between my girls' childhood innocence and my blasé adult mentality.  

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