Balance in Peaks and Valleys

BalanceBalance is important, she reminded herself. Balance is how to stay on your blades at the end of a triple salchow. Balance is what keeps your blades on the ice.

She focused on the benefits of equilibrium as she picked up speed, entered a turn, and leapt off the back inside edge of her left skate. This would be the fourteenth time this morning practicing that maneuver. The night before, she'd studied into the wee hours for the upcoming GMAT exam, while drinking three pints of organic rooibos tea at $9 and ounce to keep alert and mindful. At exactly 1:47 a.m., she fell asleep at her desk, and at exactly 4:10 a.m., she woke to her alarm and was at the rink 33 minutes later. She landed on the back outside edge of her right skate and glided effortlessly into a camel spin.

In another forty-three minutes, she would leave the rink, and meet with her faculty advisor for twenty-two minutes. Then, it would be off to conditioning training for three hours. After that, one and a half hours for intro to biomechanics lecture, followed by anatomy lab. Somewhere in between, she'd make room for a meal of a MetRX bar and diet coke, during which she would tweet three times. She proceeded into an axel-half loop-double salchow combo. Balance, she repeated to herself.

After anatomy lab, it was back to the rink for the evening freestyle skate for another hour. She'd have dinner with some of the other skaters at McDonald's a block away, then head back to her apartment to work on an ethics paper, and another late night of GMAT prep. The next morning, it all would begin again at 4:10. She skated back to the sound booth and restarted her music for another circuit.

Three-hundred eighty-two miles away, her father studied wave forms on the screen of an Apple computer. Balance, he thought to himself, as he laid tracks one upon the other. Producing music was always about achieving balance in the sound. Matching the highs to the lows to the mids, intertwining pitch and rhythm to create a final piece that pleased the ear. Peaks and valleys flickered at him from the screen. He worked to bring them into proper alignment across vocals, drums, guitars, and horns.

Without the peaks, there were no valleys, and without both, there could be no balance. He needed the highs just as much as he needed the lows and the mids. Without all three, what he had was a dial tone. No one wants to listen to a dial tone. Just find the balance, he thought.

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