WRITING EXERCISE: What Does It Feel Like to Fly?

Seagull Flying by the Lighthouse in Duluth, MN

What does it feel like to fly? I have often wondered this as I watch the seagulls swoop and soar above the waters of Lake Superior, our Unsalted Sea. I’m sure there are some flights that are all business — gathering food, tending to the young, warning others of danger — but these flights appear to be strictly pleasure. They swirl over our heads in groups, lazily, it seems. They are acrobatic, avian trapeze artists and hang-gliders. They catch the wind like surfers catch a wave…. Simply because they can. Simply because it is fun to do.

I have felt this way before on stage. It happens every so often, and it’s usually fleeting. A heightened sense of awareness sets in lightly over the top of my head as I notice that I am no longer telling my fingers where to press, no longer directing the bow as it glides across the strings. Quick, strong, smooth strokes flow into each other seamlessly; notes ring out pure and true.

If I allow my mind to step out in front of what’s happening, I get in the way and the magic stops. But if I hang back in the wings of my consciousness, I can know — if only for a moment — what it feels like to fly.

Author: violinscratches

Gaelynn Lea is a musician and public speaker from Duluth, MN. She is passionate about disability advocacy, personal growth, and authentic living. She was the winner of NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest in March 2016.