Thursday, September 6, 2007

On para-sails and flying

In our northern climes, fall descends on the city with gusto. Golden hued leaves pepper green leafy tree branches with colour that laughs and shimmers in the rosy glow of autumn's sunset. A gentle breeze rustles amidst the golden prairie grasses waving good-bye to summer's passing. The heat of day wanes quickly. The sun hastens towards the ridge of the Rockies sprawled across the western skyline like a sleeping dinosaur. The sky eagerly prepares itself for day's journey into night like a lover yearning for that climatic release when colour and touch and sound explode into one glorious moment. Undulating clouds ripple across the celestial arc, their scalloped edges gathering up the light, bruising the edges with indigo and purple. It was a magical evening. An evening meant for walking.

We headed up the road to the top of the ridge and stopped to watch two para-sailors prepare their brightly coloured crafts for flight. From a distance, they looked unseemly. Impossibly earthbound, connected to the earth by tiny stick like figures that struggled to hold them on the ground. The sailors jostled for position. First the red and yellow and white sailor edged his way to the ridge. He peeked over. Backed off. Shifted position. Stepped forward again. Hesitated. As if eager to push his flying mate over the edge, the teal and orange maneuvered into position beside him, the expanse of his wings shivering in anticipation.

"Go!" his wings seemed to quiver. "Go!"

The first sailor stepped forward again. Closer. Closer. Faster. Faster. He gained the lip of the ridge. Faster. Faster. His legs ran through air. The wingtip leaped forward. Hesitated. Caught a gust of wind and freed itself from the earth below. The tiny figure of the man dangled with gangly imprecision for a moment then straigthened himself out, pushed forward, and back and held himself parallel to the ground. Where once the sail seemed awkward, unruly, it expanded itself with grace. Silently. Melodically. Hypnotically the red and yellow and white of its wings floated through the air, beyond the ridge, beyond the rocks, beyond the earth it merged with the sky, grasped meaning in its flight and slowly drifted towards the ground at the bottom of the hill.

From our vantage point we could hear cheers of laughter, joy carried on the wind towards us.

It was a moment of wonder. A moment of flight. Of pure joy cast upon the wind captured beneath the wings of a red and yellow and white arrow leading the way into wonder.

Like life.

Moments of preparation. Moments of fear standing on the edge. Yearning for flight. Seeking the comfort of gravity holding us back, straining at the ties keeping us tethered to the ground.

In Warriors of the Heart, Danaan Perry compares that moment of release, that point in time where we must let go of what is to leap into the unknown, to flying on a trapeze. We swing. Back and forth. Back and forth. Comfortable in the motion. Lulled by the rhythm of our swing.

And then, another trapeze moves towards us. We see it. Yearn for its pull. Eagerly anticipate its new and unexplored motions. But we hold on to the bar we're on. To reach out. To change swings we must let go. We must cast our fate to the air around us. We must trust in nothing to hold us up. And so we wait, travelling back and forth, back and forth. We gather our courage. Muster up our resolve. And then. We leap.

The new trapeze whistles towards us. We let go of the old and grab onto the new and get right back into the swing of things.

But, it is in that moment of hanging suspended by nothing but air, that growth happens. Change evolves. It is in that moment of trusting in nothing other than the air we breath, that we release ourselves to the incredible power of the universe to support us, carry us, move us.

Life's like that.

Moments of exquisite joy surrounded by moments of waiting and planning and preparing. Of carrying our wings to the top of the hill. Testing the wind. The equipment. Checking out our flight path. And then waiting. Building strength. Gathering courage. We run and leap.

It was an evening meant for walking. It was a moment for destiny to take flight.

The question is: Are you ready to let go of the swing you're on? Are you willing to trust in the universe to be there for you, regardless of if you're in the air or on the ground? Are you willing to fly?

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