The Leap is about a daughter and her view of her mother. She feels that she owes her existence to three separate "leaps" her mother had taken throughout the course of her life.
Her mother used to be an acrobat with a group called the Flying Avalons. The Flying Avalons performed in the old circus tents and consisted of her husband and her in-laws. One night there was a fire and by some twist of fate, the mother leapt onto a wire in the middle of her performance and in the middle of the fire in order to save her life. The narrator read about this story through newspaper articles she discovered in her mother's house -- her mother never told her.
At the hospital following the fire, the mother met the narrator's father -- he was her doctor. The two fell in love as they shared stories. He had never travelled so the mother told stories of her circus days. She didn't know how to read and he taught her. The second "leap" is when she trusted her love, moved on, and married.
Leaps 1 and 2 occurred before the narrator was even born.
When the narrator was seven, there was another fire -- but this time, it was at her house. She was trapped upstairs and her parents were out when it started. The narrator had always been told to stay where she was if there was a fire so no one could get her to come to the window to jump into the net. The mother realized this, stripped down to her underclothes (so she wouldn't catch on fire), climbed up a nearby tree and "leaped" to the house using her old acrobatic tricks. She got her daughter and they jumped into the firemen's net.