On a recent walk through the Hollow, Tom spotted four ducks paddling around on our neighbor's pond in the distance, just minding their own business.
I wondered if it was the Mallard couple who used to visit every year, stopping by with their all-grown-up babies.
Probably not. Maybe. It didn't matter - I just knew I hadn't seen any ducks in the Hollow in several years, so I hurriedly pointed my camera in their direction.
I barely had time to snap one photo before they spotted us spotting them and took flight ... in search of some privacy, no doubt. So I just kept clicking- no time for adjustments to my camera settings or anything - fingers crossed the photos would be half decent.
They were just half decent. But that was enough to capture the moment and memory.
The duck sighting - watching them lift away from the pond, turn, and soar effortlessly away - reminded me of a recurring childhood dream of mine:
In it, I run, run, run, then jump! ... and instantly I'm soaring, arms and legs still pumping, helping me climb higher and higher above the vacant lot, until I'm high above the trees and houses. I relax, arms outstretched, just gliding through the air, with an occasional kick against the pull of gravity. The wind caresses my face, my hair...
Did you ever have a similar dream? Mine felt so real - I haven't had that dream since childhood, but even now I can put myself there, feel the freedom of springing from the earth, into the sky. Like swimming, but better.
“God has given you a spirit with wings on which to soar into the spacious firmament of Love and Freedom. Is it not pitiful than that you cut your wings with your own hands and suffer your soul to crawl like an insect upon the earth?” Khalil Gibran
My friend George and I planned to sky dive together after high school graduation. I longed for the exhilaration, the freedom, that feeling of soaring through the air that I had experienced in my dream.
But that's the closest to the dream I ever came... thinking about sky diving.
George and I graduated, lost touch, our pact buried in a cluttered drawer of my mind.
Two or three years later, during a rescue training session at work one night, I stepped to the edge of open double doors high above the ground and slipped into a harness, eager for my turn on the zip line stretching to the ground. I leaned forward, farther and farther, until my body was almost parallel with the ground, but still, there was no zip.
I turned and looked at my feet, still firmly planted on the ledge of the doorway, refusing to budge. I tried to will them to let go. No luck. They had a mind of their own.
They were afraid.
I don't remember what happened next - probably one of the guys shoved me loose; I vaguely remember zipping without incident down to the ground.
But I realized at that moment I wouldn't be jumping out of an airplane. Ever. I took that pact out of the drawer in my mind and burned it.
Fear had tainted my dream of soaring through the sky. Clipped my wings.
Fast forward thirty years or so. George and I reconnect. And guess what? He jumps out of an airplane in honor of his 50th birthday. He sends me photos of himself, soaring through the air.
He tries to persuade me to go.
No way, I say automatically.
Then Barry sends me photos. And Gina. What is it with everyone jumping out of airplanes?
And I remember the dream, remember my 10-year-old self soaring, swimming through the air above the neighborhood vacant lot. What a glorious feeling of freedom.
And I think, maybe. Maybe I can now. Maybe I will jump out of an airplane and finally feel that rush.
Is it possible for wings to grow back?
I think of other things in my life I had feared ... other ways I had found to soar: returning to college, reading my words out loud to a class, submitting my essays for publication, moving to a different city, beginning a blog, cage dancing (yes, really!), running 3 miles despite my asthma...
And many more, now that I think about it. With a running start and a jump, I had done them all, leaving my fears on the ground behind me.
Heck, just a few weeks ago, I shushed my fears and played the drums in public! (Thanks for the photo, KV!)
Now that was scary. But such a free, soaring feeling...
Maybe I will try skydiving after all, and soar through the sky like in that old dream of mine.
(This is my contribution to Jillsy's One Word Wednesday - have you guessed the word? Soar! Click here to see Jillsy's beautiful photograph and the other great entries. And feel free to add your own!)