Friday, March 19, 2010

Have You, Could You, Would You Fly?

Not very long ago, flying was not really an option for humans, unless you fell off a cliff, or found yourself in the talons of a pterodactyl, who on a whim decided at fifteen thousand feet to become a vegetarian.

In the 1920's, my dad (above) used to build his own airplanes out of Harley Davidson motorcycle engines, and chewing gum. He hand carved the propellers using a spoke shave. He flew whithersoever he wished.

And sometimes he flew right into the ground.

This is a painting my son, Jesse did a while ago depicting himself flying. He wrote:

"It was like pushing off from the bottom of a swimming pool rather than flying. I hadn't actually flown before, but every kid has his own idea of just what it would be like. I didn't have to jump. Only gliding through the air. Nothing could be heard except the boats in the water and the sun shining on the lawns.

Stillness like nobody could describe. Realness like a truck with wood in the back or a paper cut from a love letter. The good kind of real. Free and real like the kind God allows only for a twinkle on this side of eternity."

This angel was drawn by daughter, Faith. Flying is a lighthearted leap! A sigh going the other way. Do you remember any dreams of flying? I used to have them as a child, and never wanted them to end. If I found myself waking, I would try so hard to crawl back into my dream.

My granddaughter drew this picture or herself flying. See her wings? In Madeleine L'Engle's book Walking on Water, she ponders a memory of flying as a child. She is certain that she truly did fly. I think I did too, but would never mention it to anyone. Oh, look I've gone and mentioned it.

When we are motivated by love, when we live in joy, when we follow our dreams and our deeper instincts, do we not also find ourselves flying?

When astronaut, Alan Shepard was silently hurtling through space, he looked back at the Earth, and he wept.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Running Away With the Gypsies

Life's pressures get intense don't they? It helps to have an escape hatch. Mine has always been to run away with the Gypsies if things get too wonky. A dear artist friend told me yesterday, she may loose her house, but "is looking forward to the adventure of sleeping under bridges, or living with the Gypsies."

My mother told us kids that we were all dropped off on the back porch by Gypsies. I believe her. It explains an awful lot. For one, I like the idea of singing to your draft horse and wandering the back roads. What could be better than cooking an omelette on an open campfire with fresh picked sage or rosemary?

The Gypsies, or the Roma people have music that fires the soul. When I hear it, my feet literally can not sit still. You must dance or die. In their music, they have somehow captured untethered Passion. Pathos. Yearning. Joy. The Pizaaz of life in spite of the miseries.

A couple of my favorite movies along this vein: Gypsy Caravan, Latcho Drom, and The Pied Piper of Hützovina which stars the irrepressible Ukrainian punk musician, Eugene Hütz, who with some of his band, Gogol Bordello, also starred in Liev Schreiber's film Everything is Illuminated.

So what's your escape hatch? You could put on big silver loop earrings and you would be halfway there. Locate you inner Gypsy. Do it. Dance when no one is looking, or better yet dance when they are. If your folks won't level with you, ask your grandparents, "Was I brought here by Gypsies?"