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Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Wonder of Flight

Today I watched as a bird flew down and landed on a railing.  As I have done many times for as far back as I can remember I wondered how terrific it would be to have the ability to just take flight.  I thought about something I read not long ago about how our reality is just our perception of the things we see as our brain can understand it based off the sum of our experiences and knowledge.  The article went on to expound on physics, reality, and our perceptions.

I considered that if this were true and I was really something else as my body is made up of just a bunch of molecules connected together then I could imagine I was lighter than air and just launch myself into the air.  The bird which I was still watching this entire time stretched out its wings and fluttered them at me so they were nothing more than a blur to my vision.  It settled its wings back to its sides and shook itself like it just got a shiver.
It seriously looked as if this bird was actually taunting me to attempt to fly!

As I sat later to write this piece it crossed my mind that I should write that I took off and launched myself from the ground and soared through the air.  Proving mind over matter, shattering the concept of gravity and flying so fast that tears ran from my eyes from the wind.
Alas, I remembered a young and naïve boy who once wore a cape made from an old child’s blanket who launched himself from the top of the mobile home which was his childhood home.  The event was reminiscent of watching Wily E. Coyote after launching past the edge of a cliff from the cartoons the same boy grew up enjoying.  The pain remembered from that elementary experiment of physics long before he knew it was a science made me walk away thinking of calling the bird a very socially unacceptable name as I left.
I wonder if all young boys take a plunge of faith as part of their elementary learning experiences.  It reminds me to sit down with my two very young boys and explain about the do’s and don’ts of flying.  I wonder if by telling them that I may inhibit their ability to fly if it exists, or if I’ll rob them of some rite of passage as a boy.  Hopefully I will save them from getting hurt and if done properly instill in them the same love and excitement of flying and planes that I grew up with.
Of course I was born on Castle Air Force Base, the son of an Air Force Drill Instructor.  Later in Idaho, we lived down the gravel road from a small grass field airport which was inhabited by a bunch of guys who flew bombers together during World War II.  I grew up around vintage exotic aircraft that you could only see in the movies or at airshows.  The old pilots would entertain me with stories of their glory days and I frequently got rides in all sorts of magnificent war birds.
That damn bird still has me upset at challenging me in such a fashion.  I hope it finds a hungry cat amongst its travels.


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