September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

The other night the sky turned so luminously pink it caught my attention from where I had busied myself indoors. I was chatting on the phone with my mother or sister when the sky beckoned me out onto the patio. I walked out onto the cement, maneuvered around the bicycles, the table, and the tomato plants, and looking out over the trees and garages and parking lot and lampposts I saw them: three skydivers, their parachutes pulled, floating down through the sunset.

We see skydivers out here all the time – Longmont seems to be a city of the sky, with numerous small planes, air shows, hot air balloons, and a skydiving outfit – so it wasn’t unusual to see the figures falling. Usually I don’t envy them, as I am happy enough keeping my money and staying on the ground, but this night I did, a little. They weren’t looking at the sky-canvas, as I was – they were in it. They had become a part of that sunset. I imagine they could practically feel its colors.

Yesterday, while we were picking beans, a great flock of small black birds went racing right over us. Their noise caught our attention and we looked up to see their silhouettes against the blue-and-white. There had to be hundreds of them, all flying at the same speed, one body with one purpose. “It’s like a pattern,” I said, and wished I could sew a dress out of the fabric.

At the barn that night, I watched the birds gather on the fences of the runs where the horses eat. They wait for the horses to finish their feed, and once we pull the horses and buckets out of the runs, the birds hop in for the spilled grain. Mostly they are sparrows, but one of the birds was different, bigger than the rest, a kind of brindled brown and black. I don’t know what he was, and I still haven’t found out, but I kept looking back at him, wanting to see if he got the leftovers along with the others, wondering where he lived and how he had come here.

And all these things came together to make me start thinking about wings. That old human desire for flight. An airplane doesn’t quite suffice – it’s so inside, so loud, so mechanical. I’d rather grow wings out of my own back, nice white feathery ones, tinged pink or gold, that I could tuck away and unfold as needed. I’m not an angel of the heavenly variety nor the (rather opposite) Victoria’s Secret variety, but I do envy their gorgeous feathers! I wonder what kinds of things might we see, if we could add that other dimension of space to our daily, usual movement? How would our perspectives change? What beauty might we know?

Adventure isn’t something I can very well afford right now, but I can daydream about hang-gliding, parasailing, boat sailing, ballooning, and galloping bareback across a meadow. Lightness, height, speed . . . we pursue these things for a reason. I want to do it. I want to find out why.


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