Le Coup

man-on-wireThat’s what Philippe Petit called his breathtaking high wire walk between the Twin Towers, a quarter mile in the air. The coup.

The documentary “Man on Wire” tells the story of what was essentially an artistic crime, trespassing and entering, rigging the wire cable from rooftop to rooftop. But more fascinating than the drama is the man himself. Philippe was obsessed of a single glorious idea from the moment he saw a sketch of the planned towers in 1968 until he finally danced between them in 1974.

The towers existed–or would. That was enough. He had to do it.

Philippe knew no fear in pursuit of his goal, though apparently those around him sure did. And the 45 minutes he spent suspended in mid-air were a miracle to the people who watched. Even one of the cops who arrested him once he was back on terra firma couldn’t call him a wire walker. No, he was a dancer. Fully alive in the face of easy death. Scorning the consequences.

I want to live so fearlessly. To walk out on wires where each step is a miracle, a beautiful act of balance, hovering on the rim of the unknown.

That would indeed be a coup.

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