Perhaps the most important lesson has been one of connection, of lines between trees and cliffs, lines between people. Here in Boston, I count myself lucky to have been able to bring people together with a slackline, a camera, and a mind towards having fun. What started as my own meditation of walking a line alone in the park grew into one of the largest slackline groups in the country. A typical Sunday session along the Boston Esplanade consists of a wonderful crew, my friends new and old, slacklining, juggling, practicing acrobatics, and often combining these various circus tricks. Leaning against a tree one friend serenades his lady friend with a didgeridoo. On a short line another strums her guitar balancing with one foot outstretched while others practice their juggling skills in a similar pose.
A constantly evolving crew, we are adults remembering the value of play, relearning how to do handstands in the dirt. We are students, professionals, vagabonds, and everything in between. Many are transient, students on exchange for a semester or travelers passing through. Most of us would probably have never crossed paths but for a piece of webbing strung between two trees, an oddity too curious to pass up. Multiple relationships have formed out of this crew, and an untold number of friendships including some of the strongest connections in my life. More than friends, we’ve formed a community. On one beautiful Sunday I stood back and watched and realized that by helping to organize this crazy mixture of silly humans I’ve had more impact upon strangers than I could ever have hoped in all of my days as a scientist or writer or photographer.
Lines separate people. Lines bring people together. Lines on a map define nations and separate people, creating “us” and “them” but also “family” and “culture”. Bloodlines tie us. Borderlines define us. With Crossing Lines, we hope to serve as an example that while borderlines may define us, they needn’t separate us. Quite the opposite. Lines connect us.
In October 2014, members of Slackline Boston and Iran Slackline will embark on an epic cultural exchange, crossing borders, crossing canyons, Crossing Lines. And we plan to have some fun along the way.