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.

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