Saturday, 2 July 2011
There was a time when I believed I could fly. Now I am not sure that even my spirit can take off, I have become earthbound. I am so much older, perhaps wiser, certainly sensible, and sadly, pedestrian.
Claire Gneccho's recent post on her blog Daily Epiphanies from Gaithersburg was a sudden, very sharp, reminder of something I had long forgotten: roots are for trees, fetters that bind are for slaves. Mankind must not be fettered, immobile, spiritless. Here is what Claire said:
Do you ever lose yourself in cloud thoughts?
Surrender to unfettered imaginings
of floating cities and giant causeways,
morphing into what?
Vastness of the Now
They transport us into timelessness
Do you ever feel it so?
I still fall into day-dreams, 'lose myself in cloud thoughts', but that's as far as I go. The dream ends, the clouds become grey skies and I am aware of terra firma under my feet.
I once had a friend, the sort of friend you have because your partners are friends; we were the same age, from different countries but able to speak each others language and both unhappy for similar reasons; apart from that we had nothing meaningful in common. I don't think we even liked each other very much.
One day Claudine said: "You know, you always seem restless, wanting to leave this place; you say you are tired of being unhappy and that you will try to make a different life for yourself somewhere else. My life is no better, but I have made my bed and must lie in it. You should do the same; flitting from one place to another is not what we are meant to do; we must grow roots, strong roots and learn to put up with what is and not hanker for what might be. You will never be at peace that way".
Claudine was wrong. She stayed and I left. I heard later that the strong roots she put down couldn't save her sanity.
To choose flight can be risky. There is a story about a father who takes his son to the top of a tall mountain, shows him the vast emptiness below and says:
"My son, behold what is yours to take. You have wings; take a deep breath, and fly."
The son is afraid. "What if I fail and crash?"
The father reassures him: "Even if you crash, you will not be hurt for long. You will acquire a few scars but gain courage to try again. You were born with wings, do not let them wither in fear of the unknown".
The boy consults his friends who advise him to practise by launching himself off a low hill. The boy crashes. When he complains to his father, the man says:
"To fly you need the space to spread your wings wide. There is always risk. If you want security, if flying is not to your taste, you had better stay earthbound".
Nobody needs to take stories like this one seriously, even young people can choose to live a life as free of risk as is humanly possible, where one step leads securely to the next and the next and the one after that. But how will you ever find out if you have wings if you never try to fly?
I may be earthbound but I still like to think that strong roots are for trees.