Friday, October 9, 2009


Despite shoveling down my throat with absolutely no abandon approximately 57 oreos, drinking too much shitty wine, not enough good wine, exercising exactly zero times, a crying fit over a mountainous zit, a corkscrew curly grey hair sprouting out of the middle of my scalp, and my heart generally feeling like it somehow shattered alternated with the overwhelming feeling that a very overweight man was standing on it, I've managed to dream about flying exactly twice in the past four days.

That is not flying, like on a plane to somewhere cool like Hawaii. This was ME FLYING. In my dreams, like a damned bird!

I have had flying dreams periodically since I was a kid. The younger flight dreams were recurring: standing at the landing and taking flight down my parents' stairs; then flying around their house. I recall flying once, and my mother reporting the next day that she'd found me in the middle of the night sitting at the kitchen table staring into the bread cupboard, sound asleep.

How I didn't fall down the stairs and crack open my head open was a wonder, I remember her saying. It was no mystery to me: I flew.

Later, the nature of these dreams changed and I managed to leave my parents' house and fly outside. There were no specific places, just me floating around; through, above and beneath clouds. Sadly, with age these dreams dissipated, and in the past several years, they have been next to nonexistent.

Needless to say, two in one week? Heaven in my dreams.

As if I needed the souped-up-double-bonus-flight-dream-for-extra-points, something new happened this time: people. In the past, there have never been other people. Now, suddenly, there are people.

The best, most vivid of the two flight dreams involved a detailed "flying skills session." I had a student, who shall remain nameless because, well, I could not describe to you his face, although we were comfortable interacting; in my dream I knew he was not a stranger.

What I CAN remember, is how helpless I felt racking my brain as I tried to pull vocabulary to explain the feelings and therefore movements that one must undertake before and during flight. It was frustratingly apparent that I was trying to "teach" this man something for which there were no words. There was no human experience to match/compare this with, and therefore, I was at a complete loss as to what I might tell him to DO to emulate my experience, so he could fly himself.

I was convinced that his experience would be every bit as amazingly awesome as mine and therefore he must. also. jump. and take flight with me because not only would it be so life altering for him, it would also give me someone with which to share my most incredible adventure.

So there I stood, on the edge of this great expanse of open space, high on top of this cliff, giving these utterly unsuccessful, cobbled together "lessons" which were a mix of charades and foreign language; a helluva a frustrating failure.

I can sit here now, two days later and recall with acute precision the feeling in the pit of my guts of how agonizingly much I wanted this person to share this experience with me. And yet, he stood on the edge of a tan rocky cliff and stared at me; sad, confused, with a fearful look in his eyes. Repeatedly, I'd take off and leave him standing there, toes curled around the edge of that rock, totally awestruck and yet too scared to leap.

I remember with stunning detail: take off, ascending, floating and descending and then ascending again. I would return to that cliff again and again and again, hoping that after nine, 10, 11 times, he might find the magic formula and pull from my words and then subsequent actions, something that would assist him in taking the leap.

He stood: speechless, mortified, wide eyed and yet still. Finally, after doing all I felt I could, I took off a final time, and told him I hoped he'd catch me.

I consciously never looked back in fear of disappointment at his still standing there, and eventually I somehow knew, he never moved and he still stood on the edge of that cliff; alone and scared to death.

I woke up in the midst of my flight: in a near state of euphoria, alive in a way for which I have no words, but yet with a very real undercurrent of sadness slipping in as I imagined him there.

I also acknowledged to myself somewhere in the space between dream, sleep and conscious morning life, that I had absolutely no idea that upon all my teaching and prodding if he did jump; if he too would have been able to fly.

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