A few nights ago I dreamed I was flying. I ran along, arms extended –though no flapping- and, like a kite, I caught the wind and flew. There were people watching and they were enthralled and I was overwhelmed with elation (elevated and elated!). I repeated, “I can fly! I can fly! I told you I could fly!” I did not only feel joy, but seemed to become it!
Not everyone has had such a dream, though I used to fly a lot (in my dreams) when I was younger. Such dreams appear to be a universally exhilarating experience, widely interpreted in positive terms (compared to having trouble staying afloat, being chased, falling from a great height or being attacked by someone or thing –all of which are understood symbolically as a negative and anxious response to some waking reality). So, why did I glide so effortlessly and joyfully above the onlookers? I suppose it could be related to what I ate before I slept? Maybe something to do with becoming a New York Times best selling author?!!
Earlier that day, while collecting my ten year old from school, I was instructed to “keep my head down” and “walk quickly to the car.” “Definitely,” my son said, “do not look at that girl with freckles." “Why?” I asked, looking back in her direction. “Dad! Because she likes me.” Safe in the car, I asked him how he knew that she liked him. “Because she told me; she said, ‘I like you.’” A fourth grader finds love or something like it. That’s pure soaring.
True, Esther’s book is climbing and we’ve attached ourselves to it so we’re paying close attention to any change in altitude. And that’s okay. I’ve given up trying to decide if my present life is ascending or descending. Like anyone, I’ll take a gradual incline but I know that we must all land one day, whether hard or soft. I wrote to Esther yesterday about this, concluding that it doesn’t really matter either way. I am ready for whatever.
I still don't know if it's almost daytime -or deepening night.
But I will take it.
You taught me that.
My Abigail and Evangeline were here for the Book Launch. They are super-star beautiful people! They read from Esther’s book and charmed everyone, beginning with their parents. After a few days and a few hugs, they said goodbye and set off to continue their mutual hero-adventures. But their hugs stayed with me. (My father-daughter embraces will always be counted three.) The admiration and affection of these women –these daughters of mine- makes my heart lift. “Accio Dad!” Love is in the lifting! There is no flight without it.
It’s surreal to hear someone who has never met Esther, say, “I feel like I know her through her book.” I respond like an actor in a play who does not quite know his lines. I understand the dialogue. It makes sense to me. The script then directs these players not to talk so much about the book but rather about its impact on them. Out flows their pain, maybe a renewed desire to write, or resolve to accomplish some beautifully impossible thing, or endure a hardship more patiently and with a greater appreciation for what remains. The book permits them to dream again. And with the dreaming they are Spirited up and... away! I don’t have to say anything, do anything. Just smile, shed some tears and watch them soar.
One day, I will die and I will fly. Really! You may not hear it but I will be shouting, “I can fly! I can fly!” I will look down and then up and I will say, “I told you I could fly!!” But I do not live my life for that day, rather, for this one. I want to rise now, for the good, here, in this place. And I cannot bear the thought of aviating solo. Dreams are realized in the sharing. Ask any pilot: we were not meant to fly alone.
“Accio Paul!” Catitude raises Paul DeGeorge of Harry & The Potters at the This Star Won’t Go Out Book Launch, Natick, MA. on February 1, 2014 (Boston Globe photo used with permission).