Life Mental Health

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Into the woods with Luke Skywalker and some very bad disco moves

No slacking:Gemma Fullam.. Photo: Gerry Mooney
No slacking:Gemma Fullam.. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Gemma Fullam

While there may be slack-lining classes in Dublin, there certainly aren't any in rural Kilkenny, so I turned to the internet for tips - specifically, to the YouTuber responsible for piquing my interest in the activity.

YouTuber guy doesn't call it a slackline; he prefers the term "inspiration line" and refers to the honing of his i-line skills as Jedi training. Yes, you read that right. As in Return Of. Yes, I know what you're thinking. But bear with me.

YouTuber guy looks about my age, so his teen years would have straddled the 80s, as did mine, and, if you think back, a lot of popular culture in that bad-hair decade had some sage advice to offer when it came to dealing with life's slings and arrows.

The Karate Kid's Mr Miyagi had lessons on perseverance ("Man who catch fly with chopsticks accomplish anything"); Ferris Bueller emphasised the importance of taking time to stop and smell the roses ("Life moves pretty fast and if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it"); and while Harrison Ford's bon mot from Raiders of the Lost Ark may not have spoken to my teenage psyche, it's certainly relevant to my menopausal 40-something one ("It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage").

So, hoping the Force was with me, I packed the i-line into my car and, having persuaded my other half to come along in case I did myself an injury, set off for the local woodland and two sturdy trees about 25 metres apart. Once we had the i-line set up, we took turns at being trainee Jedis. Gales of laughter ensued, as the ability to walk while 12 inches off the ground seems to be intrinsically bound up with the miming of bad disco moves in a desperate attempt to stay upright.

TIP: You'll make more progress starting off if you have someone to lean on. (Maybe the same goes in life).

YouTuber guy likens slacklining to meditation in motion, and he's right. When you're in harmony with the line, there's a sublime feeling of stillness and a synergy of mind and body that's hypnotic. I'm hooked.

On our way back to the car, Himself came across a green acorn, bright against the brown autumn leaves on the path. He bent down, poked a little hole in the earth and planted it. "To give it its chance," he said, as he took my hand, and we walked on, putting one foot in front of the other. As you do.

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