Flying is a delicate motion. And wonderful. Not as birds or planes fly, but as the seeds of the dandelion drift in the breeze. A facile reason for a simple doubt could deaden it all away somewhere forgotten. I remember the dreams of a child who could fly like that. Who didn’t need an angel’s wings, didn’t need a running start or a high cliff, or a powerful jump with frantic motions of the arms. Just standing in a field, relaxed. Arms held loosely out for balance. The secret was having heart enough to hold the faith, in really believing in the wonderful levity, the aethereal grace, in flying. A slight breeze was gentle enough to pick him up. After every subtle doubt was removed, he flew. Drifted slowly in the breeze for a hundred yards or so, landing as would a feather. An easy touch the grass with his toe would turn himself around, to look back the way he’d come. Feel the cool refreshing air into his face. But rise again, and try to fly into the wind. A loose erratic kite, skipping up and down in the air, hard forward by faith, slightly stronger than the breeze. A sweatless effort hard against air like water. Sinking at irregular intervals to rest, holding on. As dreams float, he fought. And, after all, it really was a dream. But it was wonderful enough to hold to dearly. As you’d hold a love that you knew could only break. Holding on. But let go for a moment, and he lost it. He was awake, wondering, yet loving, yearning. And he knew it was a dream. Time, and the child began to doubt. He didn’t have the dream again. It was something unreal, he told himself. It was shut away, and he willed rational beliefs to take its place. the day brought footsteps and weight to say no one can fly. Watch me drop this brick, he said. No amount of hope could make it float. Flying was something unreal. Something to be forgotten. He didn’t feel the delicate need quietly suppressed. Everything he did denied his dream, his soul that really would never admit he couldn’t fly, and that tried to find out how. The boy had nightmares when awake. Blood rushing through his head, throbbing. Lungs tearing air with exertion. Half bent arms moving back and forth, and feet pounding hard on solid ground. Pushing off and pounding down fast right leg left repeat repeat, pounding speed for weight that wouldn’t fly. He had an excuse, a race, but not to run like that. Faster than his body wanted to run. Faster than he thought at first to run. But after his head began to pound, a very delicate need would cry, a need that his red hot blood was beating, as, in anger, beating a sick horse because it couldn’t be ridden. Underneath his thinking mind he felt that pain. A consuming frantic hard excitement kindled in him. A fear that said it’s mad to want to fly like this, a madness that made him try. An ache that throbbed faster than his pounding legs moved, driving him to run faster, his heart beating faster. He maintained the painful gruel with a stubborn will until he came to the end of the race. All delicate emotions nearly dead, trampled wet leaves. His body was weakened, a cask emptied of energy. But his heart was still fast beating hard. He forced himself to walk, to pace is slowly out. Sudden motion brought dizziness. A hollow throbbing pain headached. The weakness eventually brought him to a bench. He sat bent over in a fog swimming thoughts like water tried futilely to stand. When he stood and tried to walk away, dizziness again, and for a moment he couldn’t see, as if silent blurry black flies were overshadowing the light. A white hot face and faint blood thumping, cold sweat. His stomach wouldn’t rest. It couldn’t hold the deadened weight of things he’d swallowed. He suppressed a couple convulsive heaves with aching muscles. But soon his acid smelly lunch came up to his mouth, and out. Again, again. Then his body rested. But a weak emotion lived. He weakly hated that his body cried. Why he couldn’t fly was underneath that. Time, and I am not the child, not the running boy. Now while I’m able to write this down, I’m able to make some sense of it. I’ve asked myself the word “why” before. Here I’ve asked again. Flying is dreaming of the most wonderful life in the world, but with the dreaming real. It’s real as a gentle breeze. It’s real as feet quickly pounding hard on solid ground. But flying isn’t mind over matter; it isn’t matter over solid ground either. It’s all of me with everything. It’s real as hope and love are real. Flying is a delicate emotion. And wonderful.

January 1971