The wind beneath his wings – fiction

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Da-Vinci-glider

His ambition was unwavering and his dream was simple.  He wanted to fly.  And not by way of a commercial pilot’s license, he wanted to soar like a bird and feel the wind on his face.

He had studied Da Vinci’s sketches and the logic behind his contraption was irrefutably genius.  He set out to recreate Da Vinci’s brilliant apparatus and after a great deal of toiling and more than a few expletives he was able to stand back and appreciate all of his efforts.  It was finished.  It was brilliant.  It was ready for its first test.

After his laborious journey to bring Leonardo’s masterpiece to life, he intuitively knew he must wait until morning.  He wanted to be mentally and physically prepared for what would happen next and he knew a good night’s sleep would help him be at his best.

He looked up to the ceiling and yelled, seemingly to himself, “Get a good rest tonight.  Tomorrow, we fly.”

Morning came and the weather was perfect.  The sky was clear and the breeze guaranteed a splendid baptism into the world of flight.  He climbed the stairs to the attic and the sun beams peeked through the cracks in the roof.  The man in the corner of the room looked terrified.  The stranger was haggard, unkempt and the duct tape over his mouth prevented him from nourishing himself.  But even in the man’s fatigued condition, he was sure this man would still make a great test subject for the inaugural voyage.

He left his captive once again and wheeled his new gadget out onto the crest of the large hill that protected his house from unwanted visitors.  He had already created the launch ramp and after some serious effort on his part the plane was set and ready to be cut loose.

He ran back into the house with the enthusiasm of a child and dragged the man out of the attic.  The man put up a great struggle but he was no match for the willpower of the scientific mind.  Once the man had been strapped in, he viciously tore off the duct tape.  The man’s curses echoed in the valley below.  He methodically explained the steering mechanism to the man and explained what would have to happen during updrafts and downdrafts.  There was a pause in his instructions when he sadly mused that he would not be the first to test his gizmo but he was not stupid and knew there was room for error.

Once the tutorial was finished, he wished the man well and cut the umbilical cord holding the plane to the launch pad.  Gravity took over and the plane began to pick up speed.   The man’s screams could not be heard over the cacophony of the plane hurling down the launch ramp.  The loud noise of the wheels on the track stopped suddenly and the plane was in the air.  As graceful as an Eagle, the plane hovered on a gust of wind and seemed to stand perfectly still for a few seconds.

The breeze changed direction and he thought he was about to witness a magical flight.  But the plane seemed front heavy and could not maintain itself in the air.  He watched in horror as the plane did a nose drive, plummeted and crashed violently in the valley far below his house.

Reluctantly, he climbed into his ATV and drove down the long and winding path to see the carnage and sort through the wreckage.  His pilot did not survive the crash.  There were pieces of the plane he could salvage and he would begin building as soon as the light of the morning allowed him to begin.  Tonight he had another job.  Tonight he had to find himself a new pilot.

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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge to use the above photo of Da Vinci’s sketch and the word “dream”.

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You can take the city out of the girl AND you can definitely take this girl out of the city

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As my car edged closer to the core of the city, my pulse quickened and beads of perspiration formed on my forehead.  My hands became clammy and my body began to violently reject the smog it was forced to inhale.  I had entered my nightmare.

Although I had planned well for my entry into the bustling metropolis, I had failed to mentally prepare for the barrage of overwhelming stimuli while simultaneously maneuvering my car through the streets of Toronto.  I had meticulously drawn my route to the convention centre and arrived without incident.  Fleeing the scene of the trade show, however, was an entirely different story.

I should premise this paragraph with the fact that I drive a manual transmission – a gross error in judgement when driving in an urban area. The “quiet” side street that I used to enter the underground parking was a mere memory.  The exit, entering into the maelstrom of the end-of-the-day foot traffic, was a seriously steeply-graded hill and one infused with pedestrians.  Once I had made it successfully to the top and had not made contact with any bumpers or human body parts, I was dumped into the middle of Front Street, not only in rush hour traffic, but in the hour leading up to a major league baseball game.  The pavement was a sea of relatively happy people on their way to a Blue Jays game and I was trying to regain feeling in my leg after trying not to roll back into the car behind me or plow through the pedestrians in front of me.

My calf muscle argued vehemently about the constant clutch action but I continued along the somewhat familiar route searching for the much calmer side street I had used that morning.  I put my signal on, anticipating the upcoming turn and trying to change lanes, and was met with a few honks and dirty looks.  City drivers tend to have no patience for people who have not mastered the art of “offensive driving” and are unsure of where they are going.

After what seemed like a lifetime, I made it through the winding avenues to the much more forgiving expressway.  My heart beat quieted slightly and I no longer felt like I would spontaneously combust.  It was  not until I was comfortably North of the city limits and could see parts of the Precambrian Shield that I felt like I could relax and enjoy the journey home.

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Next time, if there is a next time, I will be smart and reap the benefit of public transit to get to my destination.  My blood pressure and my calf muscles will thank me.

 

 

 

Every now and then you wish you could change things

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Today is one of the days I would change in a heartbeat if I had the chance.

I will be going from this…

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 ….to this….

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 I am a small town girl down to my very core.  I was in a large city for two years when I went to college but the pull of a much less hectic life was too strong for me to ignore.  I yearn for the peace and quiet.  I am a creature of habit and crave the sanctity of my home and my solitude.

Toronto is a wonderful urban center for those who need the pulse of the city to echo within them.  It is a world unto itself but it is not a world where I will ever feel like I belong.   Today I will do something that is not on a list of any of my favorite things.  Today I will do my best to blend in among the crowd.  Today I will lose myself in the endless pavement and rows of buildings competing to reach the sky.  Today I will be that fish out of water, desperately wanting to get back to my lake.  Today I will hunger for the shelter of my home, the welcoming embrace of my couch and the comfort of the presence of my dog.

Today is one of the days I would change in a heartbeat if I had the chance.

Baring it all…okay, maybe just my feet….

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I have a little “Spring in my step” today.  Against the better judgement of some (who may or may not have called me a dumb-ass), I left my house this morning in my sandals.  Although the thermometer only registered a mere three degrees Celsius, I forged my way up the driveway to my car, my will strong and my head held high.

There are others like me.  We don’t hold weekly meetings, although they would be fun, and we don’t have a 12-step program for our affliction.  We simply do not like wearing shoes.  If I had my way, I would be barefoot all the time.  I don’t hold ill-will towards shoes but I find them constricting and uncomfortable.  It is a rare sighting to see me in heels and a vision that does not qualify as remotely graceful.

I have been spotted roaming around the lodge in the summer while my sandals are tucked neatly under my office desk.  I only begrudgingly put them back on when I have to go into the kitchen or the restrooms.  If my feet are ever seen by an Esthetician the gasps of horror can be heard by people in the neighboring towns.

The freedom of being barefoot is something I have always cherished.  Shoes seem like such an unnatural invention and always remind me of this clip from The Bird Cage.

What about you?  Naked feet or shoes?

Don’t walk by without sticking your nose in it…

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Too often I find myself seemingly wishing my life away.  Maybe I’m not really wishing it away but I do tend to look forward to things I have coming up instead of enjoying living in the moment.  I always comment on how quickly time seems to be marching on when, really, I have created the staccato drum beat that I am marching to and have quickened my own pace.

Years ago, my parents used to listen to a jazz singer by the name of Cleo Laine.   Although countless hours were spent listening to her sultry songs and three octave range, the only song that I can remember with total clarity is her rendition of “Stop and smell the roses”.   Even now, I can hear the song in the recesses of my memory as the words hover in a balloon above my head.  “The sweetest flowers grow, and then they bloom, but one day they die.”   I need to have that song playing on a recurring track in my head so I can realize the moments that I may be potentially throwing away, the moments that I can never get back, the moments that I missed because I was too focused on what was coming next, the moments that the roses were in bloom.

I wake up every day – I have a few cups of coffee – I go to work – I am living.  But how much living am I really doing in my life?  Am I taking the time to appreciate the things around me or am I merely going through the motions with blinders shielding my eyes and completely negating the real things in life that are happening right in front of me?

It’s time to slow down, to take life as it comes and not wish myself into the rapidly approaching future.  It will be here before I least expect it and all of those moments that I could potentially have been creating memories will have vanished.  It’s not often that I buy myself fresh flowers, but yesterday I purchased a bouquet of flowers in anticipation of the post that I would create.  Those flowers are now displayed on the island in my kitchen and each time I pass by that vase of floral poetry, I pause and take a moment to put my nose deep into those blossoms and breathe deeply.

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(image credit)

As I sat in my living room last night, laptop at my fingertips, dog asleep at my feet, I gazed across my still snow-covered lawn at the beautiful sunset.  The mottled pink clouds scattered across an otherwise clear sky and reminded me to pause and absorb the beauty of the moment.  Soon, that rose-colored sky would disappear and the true night sky would be speckled with a spectacular display of stars.  With a glass of wine in hand and a blanket caressing my shoulders, I took refuge in the warmth of my living room and took the time to enjoy the end of my day.

All too often those moments fade quickly and we are left reflecting on the beauty and emotion of what was, when we should embrace that beauty and those emotions as they occur.  Live in the now.  Stop and put your nose deeply into the petals of those roses and inhale the fragrance.  All too soon, those precious stems will be bare and we will be left with nothing but a memory of a flower that we once had the chance to enjoy.

 

The prodigious exultation of being a word-nerd

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Blogging has allowed me to become a true, and very contented, word snob.  I have always loved words.  As a teenager, I kept a duo-tang (who remembers those?) filled with lined paper and would make note of all the unfamiliar words I came across while devouring all the books I used to read.  Those words that eluded my pubescent mind became a staple of my vocabulary once I had defined them and cemented them into the library of my brain.  They circled my imagination and urged my cerebrum to come out to play.  They tickled my tongue and they began to flow like blood in my veins.

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(look at how lovely my penmanship was in high school)

I assiduously began to incorporate those words into as many scenarios as I could.  My teachers were duly impressed.  My fellow students merely looked at me like I had three heads.  My flamboyant wordiness was an ephemeral fantasy and I had to tone down my elevated rhetoric to become a conventional high-school student filled with angst rather than synonyms.

Today I still continue to incorporate those words into my daily conversations, not to sound more intelligent but, because I enjoy the way those words sound when I say them aloud.  I relish being able to use the phrase ‘alarmingly verbose’ instead of just saying “he talked a lot”.  I enjoy describing winter as arduous and not just “shitty”, although shitty can truly encapsulate the past six months.  And I will forever want to be mystified by language and not speak simply to communicate.  I want to thrive in my love for words.

My enthusiasm for articulate phrases has never waned.  It has followed me throughout my journey.  It has haunted my sleep and clandestinely pursued me during my conscious hours.

May those words forever churn in the maelstrom of my imagination and may I always be able to maintain my romance with the language of expression.

 

The portal of wants and wishes

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I love dreaming.  I love waking up in the morning and putting together the pieces of colors and images that have splashed themselves onto the blank canvas in my sleep.  I thrive on spending time over coffee attempting to put together the jigsaw cut-outs and make sense of what they are trying to tell me.   Mornings are a constant source of recollection, collaboration and interpretation.   The maelstrom of the previous day becomes a masterpiece in my dreams that only I can put together the next day to make any sense of it.

Does that ever happen to you?  You spend so many conscious hours with something or someone at the forefront of your brain that they unwittingly seep into your nocturnal hours and wreak havoc in your dreams?  And it may not be the type of havoc that has you waking in a panic, covered in sweat, but the thought of them is left lingering in your mind to chase you around for another day.  It happens to me quite often with a myriad of things I encounter during my day.  It could be work or it could be a person I just can’t seem to shake from my thoughts.  I spend so many minutes of my day thinking about those things that I carry them into my dream world in a back pack that seems to open of its own volition and spill out into the landscape of my REM sleep.

(Image courtesy of Google)

And it is not that I go to bed with these thoughts whirling around in my head.  I have found a way to relax my brain before I drift off into that long-awaited slumber and wipe the stress and experience of the day from my mind.  But no matter what good intentions I have as I let the night pull down the shades of my eyelids, those waking thoughts transform themselves in my nightscape and travel through that mystical door of my dreams.  The invisible portal is opened and a new world of ideas and scenarios creeps into my subconscious.

And sometimes, if I wake early with the dream still lingering in the realm between awake and asleep, I long to get back to the dream.  Cherished moments, although created in another dimension of my reality, seem so real that I can live there again if I could only drift back into sleep.  My wishes wait there for me.  My desire holds firmly in its place to anticipate my safe arrival back through the portal of my dream world.

However, the invasion of my reality into those dreams is anticipated.  On occasion, work and family are now holding the seats in the front row of the performance of my dream to watch as the scene plays out for those final moments of my reanimated sleep.  The panorama that I had so carefully constructed in the previous hours of my dream world becomes interrupted with more genuine actuality than was originally anticipated.  Somehow that carefree abandon is now speckled with a plethora of reality and the dream that I truly wanted to dream about is invaded less by my unconscious and is now dominated by my conscious waking moments.  My dream is now a host to real life.

What about you?  Do your dreams take you on an adventure or do your dreams consist more of your reality?