Man on Wire

When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk.

— Philippe Petit

I watched the wonderful documentary Man on Wire last night. It is the inspiring story of Philippe Petit and his lifelong passion to walk a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. His dream began even before the towers were built and culminated in a 45 minute walk in the sky on August 7, 1974. The film is especially bittersweet with all of the behind-the-scenes details of the twin towers, knowing their ultimate fate.

Philippe’s quote above was in response to the incessant pleas by the press for an answer to “Why?” There is no why, he insisted. When he sees oranges, he juggles. When he sees two towers, he walks.

Over the summer I was mesmerized by Roz Savage’s amazing feat of rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii. In her thrice weekly podcast with Leo Laporte she was freqently pressed for an answer to Why? Despite her compelling commitment to bring attention to the the plight of the environment and her moving stories of abandoning management consulting for the open ocean, I suspect Roz’s real reason for first rowing the Atlantic, and now the Pacific, is closer to Philippe’s answer to Why? When she sees a plastic water bottle, she recycles. But when she sees an open ocean, she rows.

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