The Walkers are mindful of life's dangers. In 2003, while paragliding, Dan crashed into the side of a mountain. Jo raced to his rescue, carried him up the mountain, and drove him to the hospital. Though Dan recovered, they realized that running the Network had become too stressful, especially now that they had two young daughters. The last play Jo directed there was Defying Gravity, about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
The Walkers inherited daredevil genes from their fathers. Dan's, a physicist, raced cars. Jo's, an environmental lawyer, died in a mountain-climbing accident when she was twelve. She reached adulthood joyously defiant. When taking people up in a plane, she explains the buoyancy of air, the effects of heat on lift, the function of rudders, wing flaps, tail. She also appreciates the view. "Everything is small," she says. "You gain perspective."
And "flying is not such a stretch from theater," Jo quips. "Both use props and wings."
[Originally published in October, 2012.]