This past month has been an incredibly difficult one. Many in the country and the world are currently sheltering in place, and it seems like an eternity has passed since we’ve had the ability to travel, even locally, or to take part in physical pursuits of any sort outdoors. We are, in so many ways, in a state of suspended animation. This week, as a kind of release, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces on adventurous spirits. In “Angle of Vision,” Lauren Collins profiles the aerial photographer George Steinmetz and documents his extraordinary flights in pursuit of the perfect image. In “The Man Who Walks on Air,” Calvin Tomkins follows the high-wire artist Philippe Petit as he performs electrifying feats of wire walking around the globe. In “Breaking the Waves,” Ariel Levy explores the life of the long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad and reports on her groundbreaking open-ocean swim from Cuba to Florida. Finally, in “The Wall Dancer,” Nick Paumgarten examines the exploits of Ashima Shiraishi, a teen-age prodigy who is considered one of the most talented rock climbers in the world. We hope that these pieces offer a welcome release, an intimation of better days.

David Remnick


Steinmetz paragliding above a ksar in the dunes of the Grand Erg Occidental north of Timimoun Algeria
Photograph by François Lagarde

George Steinmetz’s aerial alchemy.


Philippe Petit is about to perform the greatest show of his life. Is it art?


In her sixties, a swimmer revives an old dream.


Ashima Shiraishi scaling a boulder outdoors
Photograph by Pari Dukovic for The New Yorker

Ashima Shiraishi’s route to the top.

Source: www.newyorker.com/feed/everything