Monday, December 1, 2003

The spirit is born


By Kathy Walker

I grew up a little wild and free so it's not surprising, perhaps, that my twelve year old brain was able to conjure up such an idea. But as we all know, ideas are one thing and carrying them out is quite another. It just might be true that the depth of one's spirit is indicated by the fruition of an idea --even if it may seem like a crazy idea at the time.

Life moves slowly when you're very young, and I remember spending a lot of time daydreaming about what my life would be like. My thoughts often took me to more exciting places and events than the banal surroundings and activities of a small rural family farm. What we did have, however, was wind, and it was rarely in short supply at that. We planted trees in order to frustrate the effects of that natural source, but still it swept the top soil into lofty brown clouds and moved bright fluffy clouds across the sky.

The sky was fascinating. When the wind and dirt weren't moving so fast that my eyes were stinging from needles of dirt, I would sprawl my skinny body on the grass and admire the clouds. "Hey, that one's wearing a skirt!" or "That cloud looks like an angel." Then there were the airplanes. They danced and flirted with the clouds, and a skinny girl who barely had any contact with airplanes started to dream. A tremendous sky and what seemed like an eternity's amount of time stirred and ignited a great gift. A boring Saturday morning in the middle of nowhere now had adventure and spirit.

I would like to say that at this time I immediately took to the air, but in truth I took it to paper. If the means as well as the will had been available, I'm sure I would have been in there pitching all the way. However, I didn't have the acquaintance of any real pilots, and other than watching the sky and dreaming, I didn't see very many airplanes.

On paper I was brave and resourceful. If I couldn't actually be part of that world in the sky, I could be there in spirit, and I committed it to permanence in words. I wrote about the idea and construction of a flying machine. Materials of wood, fabric and glue became the imperative framework to carry me up there. On top of the hill next to the house, I stood in just the right amount of wind and clouds with the frame of my flying machine attached to skinny body.