Gliding Together

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.  ~Leonardo Da Vinci, artist, inventor, and more


Wherever you go I will follow.
Apart from you I am nothing.
Tethered by specially designed rope we glide
O’er vast fields and towns — our earthly home.

“Relax, I’ve got this” is easy for you to say;
You’re the one in front blazing this trail.
Yet part of me knows without trying too hard
I’m just a heartbeat from certain death.

Seriously? Relax! Enjoy the ride and the view;
Feel the wind currents rise and fall as you soar
Ever higher, never faster, amid the swirling clouds.
No destination, no clock — just you, me, and grandeur.

You have no power and can do little else
But follow my lead. Don’t fret, my friend,
I take my responsibility seriously and won’t fail
To escort you safely back from whence we came.

Note: I noticed these two as I was out and about one day and snapped a photo, figuring I’d find some use for it eventually. The glider in back has no motor; as such, it can only tag along until it’s set loose. The small plane in front does the lion’s share of the towing to reach the proper altitude. Which would you rather ride in? Here’s more info on gliders.

One Day I’ll Get My Wings

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to fly.

Not so much in a machine, mind you, but to fly. On my own accord.

When I was a kid, my sister and I would drape rain slickers — fastened at the neck by one button, our arms hanging free — across our backs, then race down our swing set slide, flapping like mad. The plan was, once we neared the bottom of the slide, to give a mighty leap and take off into the air!

Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

But I never quit hoping.

My parents, I’m sure, figured I’d outgrow this “nonsense.” Unlike me, they never wanted to be in the air, even in a plane.

When I became an adult, I casually entered a contest in which the prize was a flight around town in a hot air balloon.

My parents thought I’d gone mad.

“What if it crashes?” they fretted. “What if it tangles up in power lines?”

I come from a long line of worriers, you see. Anything and everything has the potential for being life-threatening. Dangerous. Scary. Better off avoided.

But I wasn’t concerned.

I never win contests.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Imagine my surprise when the phone rang to inform me I’d won!

My Favorite Domer was just a little kid, and part of me wondered what would happen to him if the unthinkable occurred and my balloon did crash. The other part of me, however, looked into his little eyes and knew I had to model brave behavior — for him.

He had to see that Mommy didn’t let fear hold her back. That sometimes, you’ve just got to suck it up, turn a deaf ear to the naysayers, and live your dream.

My heart was tripping the day of the balloon ride. But the sky was cloudless and blue, the temperature was warm, and there was a perfect light breeze.

I watched the couple who were my pilots ready their (our) balloon for flight. Before I knew it, we were off!

What freedom! What glory!

Floating over the corn and soybean fields of central Illinois, high over the country roads, cars, and buildings.

It was truly as the balloonists’ say, “Mother Nature has taken you into the skies and returned you gently to Earth.”

Too soon, it was over. Besides my memory, I’m left with an empty bottle of champagne, autographed by my pilots and used in their “christening” ceremony for my virgin flight.

Would I go again? In a heartbeat!

As I’ve gotten older and people in my parents’ generation are dying around me, I’m reminded of something the nuns used to tell us in Catechism class:

One day, we, too, will die.

As a child, that didn’t worry me too much.

After all, I reasoned, when I die, I’ll probably get wings.

And wings will help me soar.

On my own!

Won’t THAT be cool?!