I’ve never been much of an animal lover. I spent more than half my life trying to avoid animals, especially the furry kind. Before you judge me too harshly, let me explain. As a child, I lived on a farm and was allergic to cows, horses, dogs, cats, sheep, goats, rabbits, any animal with fur and dander. Being near them caused me to wheeze, sneeze, itch, and feel like I had the flu and leprosy at the same time. As for rodents, despite Disney’s attempts to portray them as cute and cuddly, I’m simply terrified of them. So, you’ll pardon me if I don’t relate to an animal immediately. Fortunately, my children and grandchildren didn’t inherit my allergies. All of them adore animals and have multiple pets.
But what if I could be an animal? What if I had the power to turn myself into any animal I chose? Most dogs and cats seem to have it pretty good, but I’d choose to be a bird, not a caged bird, not a domesticated chicken or duck, but a wild, free bird of prey. Other animals—perhaps even humans—would be afraid of me, allowing me to soar, unconstrained and fearless.
I’m convinced most people have dreamed they could fly. As long ago as the fifteenth century, Leonardo Da Vinci sketched his ornithopters based on observing birds. But like many other inventors before and after, Leonardo failed to consider the limitations of human physiology.
Whenever I experience the flying dream, I’m aware, even in my dream state, that I don’t want to awaken. The feelings of buoyancy and freedom are far too pleasurable to terminate my best-ever nighttime fantasy. I want the sensation to last forever. In the dream, my flight is effortless, and I’m untouchable. I’ve heard it said that flying dreams mean you are doing the right thing with your life. That concerns me because I haven’t had a flying dream in a long time.
As I observe birds like eagles, seagulls, and hawks coasting on the wind with their wings outstretched, their movements appear effortless. I watch them climbing, dipping, banking and diving with ease. There’s something about the thought of rising above the earth and its other inhabitants that awakens my senses and fulfills my fantasies.
The concept of traversing the skies without a road or a flight path, floating over trees, mountains and buildings, is a desire common to humans throughout the ages. It is responsible for the invention of aviation. My husband, the aerospace engineer, spent six years mastering the principles of aviation. Wilbur and Orville Wright spent as many years studying, experimenting, and failing before finally accomplishing what birds have always known by instinct.
To be a bird, flying into the wind, perching on treetops and gazing downward at pitiable, earthbound creatures—what could be more exhilarating? Well…singing, of course. It so happens that birds can do that, too.
Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories, a novella, Diary in the Attic, and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room, and I Want to Go Home. Visit her website: www.cindylfreeman.com or Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available through amazon.com or hightidepublications.com