The key, according to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," is learning how to fall and missing the ground. Missing the ground can be achieved by merely forgetting its existence. The most precise way to do this is by a moment of distraction, just before hitting the ground, that is so surprising, that you forget about hitting the ground.

Arthur Dent, the main character in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series, achieved this moment of distraction. Being human, he was prone to ADD, or attention deficit disorder. One of the times he achieved the key moment of distraction, was seeing the only bottle of Greek Olive Oil on an alien planet.

The moment of distraction becomes easier as you succeed. Simply achieving the moment of distraction and staying in the air is also very difficult, because if you remember the ground below you, you realize the laws of gravity, and therefore, fall.

The art of flying can include many swoops, twirls, and other "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,"-like shit.

Don't use this as the ultimate guide. I do not take responsibility for stupidity, and therefore someone using this as the ultimate guide to flying.

It could have been perfect. It was planned. It was like the classical music from her father’s stereo that got so soft it seemed nothing was playing. You would have had to know it was happening to see it. But sometimes no matter how well you have something worked out the world decides it doesn’t fit. Everything is swept away in a tidal wave of inanity. The phone rings. The car won’t start. The cat pukes on the living room carpet. You get wrapped up and don’t hear the pianissimo for the chatter in your head. Then you’re sure the very essence of things conspires to stop you and there’s nothing a person can do to fight it.

*



Flying involves convincing yourself you can do it. You don’t need to go to a high place and leap, because people who can fly simply take off from the ground. But leaping and not falling has a wonderful effect on the psyche. Once you’ve flown you know you can do nearly anything, so it’s well worth the leap if you can find the time and a precipice.

Most amateur fliers never get off the ground, or worse, hit the ground with a two-hundred-g stop that tears them limb from limb. The reasons are twofold. First, thoroughly convincing yourself you can fly is much more than the power of positive thinking. It cannot be accomplished by looking in a mirror and telling yourself you can. What’s necessary is convincing every molecule of your body that your mind is not a double-agent for enemy forces hell-bent on self-destruction. Your liver has to be convinced flying is good for the bile. It needs to imagine itself a bird’s liver. Your stomach has to look forward to pulling g’s. The heart must be well into process of signing up for flight school. The spleen must grow impatient doing whatever it is spleens do on the ground. It must want to be a sky spleen.

The second reason most humans fall off buildings with an unsettling splat is that the tyro flier has not taken the necessary steps to convince the rest of the universe his candidacy for flight is worth supporting. Physics has to be willing to cooperate. The earth has to be satisfied having another person in its skies is beneficial.

Without these two items satisfactorily settled, human flight is impossible. Once you have internalized these facts, move on to lesson two.

*



Music is born. Music will come into the world one way or another. When a song wants to be heard, someone will write it. One person or another. It carries a message that needs to get out.

I know this is true. I wrote a song and I heard it on the radio ten years later, written by someone else. Like the song needed to be heard and I wasn’t getting it out there fast enough.

When I hear it on the radio I enjoy it, just as I did when it came off my fingers. When I hear it on CD it makes me happy, because we’re acquainted intimately, that song and I. We’re old pals. I’m the first person who heard it, and it knows. It greets me with a smile and I remind it I was its first father. I asked it not to feel I failed it, and it agrees. That’s the way music works. It takes an explanation:

You would have been nothing if you lived alone on my keyboard. Now you’re famous. Attached to a movie. Sung by a famous star. You got farther than I could ever bring you and I’m glad you made it. I still love hearing you and you’re still mine though nobody knows it but us.

I hope you won’t forget us alone together in those days when you came to me. I hope you’ll think of them fondly. I’ve heard what you tell me.

And I tried. I really did. What more can a man do?


*


She flies in her dreams. Over rooftops and darkened city streets, white and red lights glistening from the pavement misted black and wet in a summer drizzle. She hears music and sees angels singing.

She says she’s consumed by love that came to her in a vision that waking couldn’t shake. Now she lives breathing dreams. Every time she hears the angels song it reminds her that her true love is out there in the world right now, looking for her.

Could that be what life is for? The pain and trial juxtaposed with unrelenting joy – what else could it mean?

You get one life. You’ve earned one love. Find it.

You get arms and legs and a heart that works in the great big world. You can use them to look, and it might seem too vast and impossible a challenge that you begin to think you’ll never make it. You may need to fly.

She’s afraid she’ll burn her entire life finding love.

She flies over skyscrapers. Passes jetliners and traffic 'copters. It’s down there somewhere. The angels keep singing. What more can a woman do?


*

I found a book in the library at the end of the world. The book had been placed on the shelf by someone I will never know. There was a bookmark wedged between pages well before the one that held my message. I riffled the leaves and stopped where the book asked me to.

Words came to me across fluid relativistic space -- through black holes where physics has no dominion.

At first I didn’t understand them. When I started writing this I realized they were the missing piece to a puzzle I hadn’t started yet. The second verse to a song to which I haven’t yet been introduced, but knew as a brother before I was born.

She flies and the angels sing a song that wants to be. She plans me to hear it but sand gets in the telephone and vapor lock stalls the car. These are things you can’t force. The arms and legs we were provided have no purchase in this foreign land. You have to write on the sound and realize you get the things you release.

The book said to me --

You can be found. Even here, you have been.

This is lesson two.
Fear not.
Things happen but
Chance is on your side.
Fly if it makes you smile.
But there was never any need.
It is perfect.





- South Pole Station, Feb 4, 2006

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