Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fighting Gravity, Reaching 50, Flying, Joy

"John, Michael, wake up.
There is a boy here who is to
teach us to fly and take us to
the Never, Never Land.
He says there are
pirates and mermaids and redskins."
- Peter Pan, by Sir James Matthew Barrie

Have you ever dreamt that you could fly? I have lots of times, mostly when I was younger. My dreams in middle life seem to be more earth bound, for some reason. I wonder why? But the other night, it really happened; we flew, all of us. And reality was way more fun than a dream!

Friday night was my 50th birthday, and 11 of us piled into two cars and headed over to IFlyHollywood for what turned out to be an unforgettable 90 minutes of thrills, fun, and laughter. Now I think I want to turn 50 about once a month!

IFlyHollywood is a vertical wind tunnel, where you can make like you are skydiving without the hassle (and risk) of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Oh, that and you can avoid the wetting your pants part, too.

How to describe the feeling of floating in a 120 mph wind tunnel? Well first of all, completely non-frightening. It seems like just the most natural thing one could do; you stand in the doorway, fall forward, and, well, just float. Instructors fly with you, so you feel totally in control. You go from 5 feet above ground to as much as 25 feet. Awesomeness! All 11 of us, young and old had a complete blast, and our youngest daughter wants to come back for her 16th birthday party. What a kid!

To float, for just a few moments, beating gravity. All these years, we are held fast to the ground by a force we cannot see, but is surely there. Unavoidable. Pressing us down. Life itself does that too. Maybe I am pressed closer to the ground by the seriousness and gravity of life. Closer to the earth than when I was born. Sir Mathew Barrie understood this, I think.

But I wonder, did Sir Barrie know, there is more to this life than meets the eye? Sometimes, we can fly, if only for a few moments. And then, there is Joy.

“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

- Peter Pan, by Sir James Matthew Barrie
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