How to Fly: A Story

Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to fly. She wanted to fly because she knew that she had a home in the sky, and she wanted to go there, to be where she was understood.

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And so she climbed up a tall, tall tree to the very top, and from there she could see that the sky was very blue, but still she could not fly. Birds drifted by with the most beautiful wings on their backs, and she wanted some. She went to the edge of a great cliff, and thought about jumping off. The ground was a very long way below her, and the wind would whistle by very fast, but she knew that still she could not fly, indeed she could fall.  So she went to the end of a long, long road and thought about running so hard and so fast that she would lift up into the air. She took a deep breath and started to run, as hard and as fast and as far as she could, but still she could not fly.

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And so she lay down in the grass, underneath the tall, tall tree and looked up into the sky, and she wished for someone to show her, to guide her, to lift her up so she could find her wings. And she wished so hard that in time the people came. They stood and they looked at her and asked why she was lying there, so she told them she wanted to fly, could they help her, could they show her how?

So the kind people lay down beside her and together they looked at the sky. One person said, had you thought about climbing the tree? It might help. And she said yes, I climbed the tall, tall tree, but still I did not fly. Another said, did you notice how blue is the sky? Perhaps if you saw how blue it was, it might help. And she said, yes, in fact I did notice how blue the sky was, but still I did not fly.  Someone said, did you see the birds? What if you had wings on your back? And the girl sighed.

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Another said, what about the great cliff? If you jumped off the edge, it seems to me you would have so far to go to hit the ground, surely you would succeed. And she said yes, I went to the edge of the great cliff, I looked over the edge, but I knew then, that still I would not fly. Another said, did you try running down the long, long road…  and before they could finish she said, yes, yes, I ran with all my might as fast and as far as I possibly could, but still I did not fly.  The people were silent, until one by one they stood up and wandered away. They did not understand her sadness. They wondered if she was perhaps, a little mad.

After a very long time of looking up at the blue, blue far away sky, the girl closed her eyes and felt her back sink into the earth below her. She felt herself held there, like a baby in a cradle, and it was good. She stopped looking at the sky. She stopped wanting to climb or jump or run away from the warm, loving ground. She smiled at the gentle wind upon her face and as it teased her, she felt the stirring of wings inside her heart. I am yours, said the wings. And so with her eyes closed, and the strong Earth beneath her back, she knew the sky began where the Earth ended, and she flew.

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Photo by French artist Maia Flore from a series entitled “Sleep Elevations”

love, Adi

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