The wind is but a damp rustle of air here on the ground, as I pull myself from below the branches of the fir tree where I have spent the night. I gently stretch upward, reaching outspread fingers towards the sky.
The sky. The vast open horizon, the clouds puffed to heights, dizzying from here among the boulders and trees sprinkled unsparingly about this hillside. The blue, in between, so deep. Like the blue of an icy pool whose depth is unreachable. The sight pushes and prods me with an unseen but greatly felt force. Telling me to catch my fullest breath, brace against the cold dampness and dive head long and high. This force leaves me no chance for second thoughts or changed minds. I must leave my perch, to plunge deep into the blue that dazzles my eyes and grasps my heart.
I must join the clouds.
I must, if I am not to be torn limb from limb, heart from chest, mind from brain, I must dive and I must dive deep into the blue. This I have known since my eyes first haltingly opened to the sight of this immeasurable depth above.
First, though, I must seek the healing warmth of the sun. I must stretch my wings into the air and let stiff muscles and damp feathers be changed into that which makes my mere existence a life worth living and savoring. I must become that which I was created for. I must freely use the gifts given me so freely.
I reach again for the sky, but this time my reach is much greater and instead of skin covered fingers, I reach feather covered wings. Slowly they unfurl and stretch the muscles that attach them to my back and shoulders. Slowly they reach, twice as wide as my head is high and half again higher than that. Feathers shine as dampness is taken into the air, rising in misty steam above me, disappearing into the slight breeze.
Finally all feathers are dry, all muscles are supple and strong. I look into the clouds and take in my mightiest breath. I bend at the knees and with a great collaboration of muscle, feather and bone, my feet lose the feel of the ground. The boulders fall away behind me, as the very tops of the trees loom just ahead.
As I skim just over their skyward points, there is a great rustle in the branches. To my dismay, I see that I have startled other, smaller winged beings into flight. I see at once that they aren’t bothered by this intrusion into their morning. In fact, they seem quite happy to rise with me, above the morning, newly dawned.
As I climb higher, they slowly lag further and further behind. I have reached past their domain and into that of the heavier, heartier winged creatures of this world. That of the eagles, the hawks and the owls. Oh yes, and the creatures like me. The creatures given wings to rise, above a life that normally would have left me with but feet to walk and but imagination to soar.
My climb reaches a comfortable level, one with lifts and breezes brisk enough to sustain a glide by such a large and heavy two legged. I can feel my body suspended below these massive wings that carry me above, but it is more than that.
They are not merely an add on, they are uniquely part of me. As much a part of me as my arms or my legs or my head. The muscle of my back and my stomach and even my arms and legs flex and unflex to complete the miracle of flight. This is a process shared by the whole of my body. Each downward thrust of feathers forces the air from my lungs and each drawing up of wings, sucks air back into my chest. Only in a glide does my breathing return to normal.
I am aloft! I have been gifted with these great feathery masterpieces and I am ALOFT!
I know now that what is contained within our dreams at night, is as much a part of us as what is contained within our open eyed days. Maybe in some ways, it is even more a part. For it is the gift, to be and do that which our short seeing mind deems much too great a possibility. We experience both, yet only one do we accept as real. Reality is explained within our minds, so can’t it also be contained within our minds? We are, in part, what we experience. I am, in part, a beast given the the gift of wings. I am, in part, what I experience inside and outside my mind. I am a two-legged, impaired by gravity. But I am also a two legged that knows the feel of outstretched wings and damp feathers on a newly dawned morning. My weight weighs heavy upon the soles of my feet but my feet can launch my soul above these hills. And with all my heart and with all my soul, I know deep within my very being…
THAT I CAN FLY!