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With ease on the flying trapeze

Article

A veterinarian soars and says goodbye to stress.

I've been a practicing veterinarian since 1987 and for the last 11 years have operated my own house-call practice. In 2000, after practicing long enough to feel like there was nothing much new happening in my life, I discovered the flying trapeze. I was first introduced to it at a weekend sports camp in the Berkshires in Connecticut, and I was immediately hooked.

Catch me if you can: Dr. Jessica Baron, left, grabs onto her trapeze partner as they perform an aerial maneuver.

I was a gymnast in high school and college and never found anything else that replaced the feelings of exhilaration and passion I felt toward that sport until I started to "fly." The trapeze has turned out to be the best stress reliever I've ever found and the sport has introduced me to an entirely new world. I've met performers who've spent years in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Big Apple Circus.

In 2001, a flying trapeze school opened in a suburb of Boston close to my home, and I began to fly three times a week. Because the trapeze was outside, the season lasted only from late spring to early fall, and for the first few winters I took trips to Club Med or to my instructor's school in Florida for my trapeze fix. A couple of years ago a second school opened an indoor facility in the Boston area, which allows for year-round flying. And in the summer of 2005, I took things a step further and began to learn other aspects of aerial dance such as static trapeze and silk (like you see in Cirque du Soleil).

I was recently sidelined from the trapeze for over a year by an unrelated injury. I herniated a disc in my lower back and underwent a spinal fusion at L5-S1 in December 2006. In the last few months I've begun to fly again. It was difficult being without my stress-relief outlet while I was recovering. But I have high hopes that I'll be able to get back to the level I was at before my surgery, and then some.

—Jessica Baron, DVM

Brookline, Mass.

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