(from Tokoni … 6/25/2009)

To Fly

Back when I was seven or so we had a very windy day, and I talked my best friend into helping me achieve a dream of mine: to fly. Finding an old cardboard box, we begged a roll of tape from my mom, and found an old wooden crate that was as tall as I was. We spent the early morning hours carefully crafting my wings, then I had him tape them on.

With his help I mounted the box, and facing into the autumn wind, spread my arms wide. I could feel the wind pushing against the square brown panels, as wanting to help my dream come true. The wings were wide and long – longer than my arms – and the sky was a cloud puffed blue. How well I remember standing there on that shaky crate, feeling it wobble beneath my feet, my friend standing just a few feet away. With my face tilted up towards my goal, I launched myself into the gusty wind, my heart full of confidence.

And I fell ignominiously into the grass, my cardboard wings fluttering uselessly.

“Try it again,” my friend encouraged. “Try flapping your arms.”

So again with my friend’s help I mounted the crate – and gave it another try. And another one. And another one. We tried taping on more cardboard – then I would stand there waiting for a good strong gust, that promise of flight in the air – and launch myself into the wind.

There were a couple of times I would of sworn that I glided a few feet before falling; a few times my friend would of sworn it as well. That is what kept us going: the idea that somehow, someway, we would succeed in our goal – that finally I would break free of gravity’s chain, and soar into the sky, becoming as free as a bird, a cloud in the sky.

We tried all afternoon. We wanted to get higher – climb on the roof – but my mom in her infinite wisdom wouldn’t let us. Again and again I would launch myself off that old wooden crate, my heart slowly losing hope. By the end of the day I had to concede: the earth had a better grip on me than the sky ever would.

But it never stopped my dream of flying.