Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why Amelia Took to the skies; or who I wish I was and who I am right now

In the dreams where you fly, you know, the ones you must have had as a child, there's such freedom. Nothing like that sensation of lifting off and just soaring. I used to crave sleep to find the moment, and when I was dreaming that dream I so didn't want to wake. Because from up there I was so fully in charge. I looked down at my small dominion, in this case the apartment towers and well kept homes of Riverdale, New York and what I saw was a map of my life in bas relief. Over there, the railroad tracks where my friends and I used to wander, abandoned long ago they were the perfect place to get up to what little trouble we were able to invent. And past them, the Hudson sparkling. There was the bridge I'd walk across to make it to the candy store. It was the place where I first committed a criminal act, pocketing mars bars and jujubes only to be found out and taken back in shame. And there was the school I attended, really a ramshackle mansion that old lefty friends of my parents had turned into a free form private school. But I was off, wandering beyond all of that, I was free to go wherever I pleased.

That was the dream, that was flight. I think it's what Amelia must have felt the first time she went up in a plane, the possibility that she could leave everything behind, that she could just be, intensely be herself.

Of course I'm making some assumptions here, first that everyone has had that same dream, the one where they lift off and fly. I wonder if it's true? And that all of us, given the chance have had an epiphany, we've seen or felt or known who we are. It may be only fleeting, but it happens. Or am I wrong?


  1. You're right, on both accounts, as least as far as my experience is concerned. I have had some precious flying dreams- few and far between- but I cherish them. These dreams are so vivid that it is as if they express something that is actually real within me- perhaps in some way that I can't fathom, part of me is able to soar and fly, unhitched from gravity? Call it essence or soul, but maybe there is some aspect of being that is unbounded...At least it is interesting how powerful and universal these flying dreams are. I also have rare and fleeting moments when it seems that I am fully myself, and that I know who I am without equivocation, even though I couldn't put it into a neat package of words. Thanks for this post Naomi. It has revived some powerful memories here that I haven't thought of in a long time.

  2. Colleen, do you think it is universal, it suddenly struck me that I assumed as much. Have you ever asked anyone else if they dreamed they were flying? It's odd how I was so sure that everyone did and then I realized, hey, how did I know that?

  3. I'm going to venture a guess that dreams of freedom and total self-determination are universal, but that the metaphors the sleeping brain uses to represent those concepts vary. I recurrently dream of flying, driving, running effortlessly, canoeing, biking...any kind of travel represents freedom to me. It would be interesting to know what freedom metaphors people from other cultures dream of.