I don't know if it's a common occurrance to dream of flying. I suspect it is, but it's a foreign thing for humans to imagine doing something that is patently impossible. I've only had the dream once, and I remember it very well even though it happened over 35 years ago.

We lived on the banks of a river when I was a kid. The house was maybe 50 yards away from the river itself, uphill all the way. The way things were arramged were as follows: The river itself, then a shoreline which covered from almost nothing to 20 feet or so in width, then the dirt road which ran parallel to the river. Then a hillside, rather steep, which ended at our yard. Then came the house itself, a big rectangular 2 story house with a full length front porch and a side porch too. The margin along the river was lined with several huge old sycamore trees, scaly bark hanging like gargantuan patches of psoriasis.

The first thing I remember, I was flying, sailing across the sky, dipping and wheeling like a bat. I felt an incredible sense of exhilaration, I was awash in absolute freedom. I was flapping wings which I never was able to see. Maybe it was still my arms that I was rhythmically flapping, I don't know. Anyway, I was flapping and flying along, first out over the river, swooping low over the surface. As I climbed high again I'd sail over the land, up high over our house. I could look down and see the tin roof all silvery in the sunlight. I could make out the vertical stripes which were the ribs where the tin was crimped together to make a waterproof seam. Circling, circling, I could look down onto the tops of those immense old sycamores, make out the veins in every leaf. Everything was incredibly clear, perfectly revealed, exquisite.

I stopped flapping and tried gliding for a while. It was a relief to not have to flap but I slowed and sank. Not wanting to have to land, I set about flapping my 'wings' once again. It was incredibly hard to regain momentum, flapping like a madman to get going. I stopped sinking, stabilized, then started a slow ascent again. Finally I was winging aloft again, almost effortlessly. By trial and error I learned that I could glide a little, but had to flap again before I lost too much altitude. Then I could concentrate on what was below again. I flew over the river, our home, the garden, the barn, the farm animals, everything we had. Nothing seemed to notice me winging above them. The dogs didn't bark, the cows, horses, and chickens didn't make a move, nothing.

I awoke safely in my bed. I was somewhat suprised from the transition from flying in the sunlight to lying in my darkened room. I was engulfed by a kind of sadness, a feeling of loss at no longer having that sensation of flight, that freedom to sail above everything and everyone. I can only liken it to being able to sing beautifully only to awaken to a tone deaf reality. How can it be that one can feel sorry for the loss of an ability one never actually had?

I remember that dream so vividly, and I have hungered for its return. It never has, though. Maybe it was a gift granted only once, special for its uniqueness. I don't know, but truth is any time it wishes to come again, I'm ready to soar above it all as I did as a child.

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