I Dreamed about Flying Last Night

I rarely dream about flying, but I did last night.

I seem to have a propensity for thinking about flying. I’ve written about flying hybrids, as in James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series about a flock of flying kids, which is, as I’ve said before, “some of the most interesting reading a bird man (aka aviator, pilot) is likely to find in an airport bookstore.”

I’ve written about flying whales, and I’ve written about flying airplanes. But until now I haven’t written about flying dreams.

One reason is simple: no one wants to hear about other people’s dreams. But flying dreams are part of our collective experience. Everyone has them at some point, usually when young. As I grow older I find them occurring less frequently, and therefore find them all the more enjoyable for their rarity.

Flying dream artwork by Joseph Kemeny (www.josephkemeny.com)

Last night my arms were initially wings, but I quickly realized that I lacked the strength to fly with wings like a bird, or like Maximum Ride. I solved that problem by reverting back to my old dream style, flying with outspread arms, effortlessly.

I was standing on a 3rd story window ledge in a home where a young boy was close by, and I accidentally knocked a small pumpkin sitting on that ledge to the ground. It splattered.

Feeling some sense of responsibility for the child’s welfare, I told him not to try what I was about to do, for his head would splatter like the pumpkin. And then I stepped off the ledge and flew.

It was foggy, but instinctively I knew how to get where I was going, without aid of charts or GPS. I knew I could navigate based on some primordial signal in my brain, like a migrating bird.

It was wonderful.

It was undoubtedly a lucid dream because I was aware of a certain biological need that I consciously resisted because I did not want to break out of the dream. I knew I would never regain the dream once it was broken.

The strangest flying dream I had was only seconds long but memorable. I was viewing a glass city, with tall glass spires reaching far into the sky. It was clearly not of this earth, and I can’t swear that I was even human. But I launched myself from near the top of one of those tall glass buildings, and swooped downward, gaining speed, then glided on without effort, like an eagle.

In my college days I told my roommate about a flying dream where I was trapped underneath trolley lines in Atlanta (yes, they used to have electric trolleys downtown in the 60’s) and he found that amusing, but I did not. It was peculiar, but frustrating.

Reportedly it’s common to encounter barriers like electrical wires, and this time I sure enough found those blocking my way at one point, but unlike before I was able to ascend vertically till free of them, then continue on my way.

Sigmund Freud made much ado about dream interpretation, and would no doubt see physical barriers in flying dreams as symbols of psychological barriers existing in the dreamer’s waking world. But the fact that flying dreams are so common, even archetypal in a Jungian sense, and typically so enjoyable, makes me wonder if they might be more than some complex mental fiction that requires a highly paid professional to interpret. Perhaps they are nothing more than memories.

While you digest that thought, I suggest you enjoy the wonderful flying sequence below, generated by a computer game. For full effect, play it in high definition and full screen.



If You Were a Human-Animal Hybrid, What Would You Want to Be?

James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series about a flock of flying kids is, for me at least, some of the most interesting reading a bird man (aka aviator, pilot) is likely to find in an airport bookstore. What a fun way to spend a cross-country flight!

Even though Patterson’s series is written for adolescents, it fulfills in me an inner need to fly.  What could be better than flying with your own magnificent wings? At the same time, it poses ethical questions about science and genetic experimentation. The flying kids despise their evil scientist creators, but the ability to fly sure gets them out of some tough scrapes, just in the nick of time of course. Up and away! (If you’ve read the books, you know what I mean.)

Now comes news that animal-human embryos have been created in secret, apparently for several years. (See the link, below). While the cries from ethicists and the public are a rising crescendo, and probably overstated once you understand all the facts, the hybridization concept raises an interesting personal question. If I was a hybrid, what would I want to be?

Without a doubt, being a human with wings, with the ability of flight, would be my number one choice. Of course, that does bring some hazards; collisions with aircraft being foremost. I don’t think being ingested by the engine of a passenger jet would be a fun way to go. Or being sucked into the updrafts of a potent thunderstorm and spit out, frozen, unable to fly, at the top of the storm 43,000 feet up. That would be a long fall for a bird-human ice-cube.

And of course you have the ever aggressive hunters and cryptozoologists anxious to get a piece, or more, of you. But if you’ve read any of the Maximum Ride series, you’re familiar with those human threats. It’s always the humans who seem to be the meanest and most determined.

Moving from the avian world to the aquatic, there are lots of options. But I think foremost would be my choice to be a top predator. After all, big fish eat little fish, so who wants to be a little fish?

Dolphins rank right up there in predatory prowess, although they’re not a fish, but a mammal. And they’re cute and smart. No one wants to be even part of a dumb, ugly animal.

For land animals, polar bears are undoubtedly the coolest predator, in an emotional temper sort of way. They don’t seem to fear anything, certainly not humans, who they consider dinner. But they never get to migrate to the tropics for vacation, so I consider that to be a real negative for any potential hybridization. And besides, their favorite food, seals, are cute, especially the baby ones. What humans, even part humans, would want to eat cute food?

Of course, I suppose if you’re hungry enough …

I think it is easier to think of being all animal than to think of being an animal with human traits like intelligence, speech, artistic and scientific creativity. Nevertheless, Planet of the Apes provided one well-known artistic example of that possibility. Another is a muscular, arguably intelligent walking frog, as seen here, borrowed from a now-obscure internet site (meaning I can’t find where it came from*). You’ll read more about such creatures in Children of the Middle Waters, when that book becomes available.

One unfortunate consequence of being an animal is that most animals are short-lived. There are exceptions of course, like the tortoise, but the 100-year or so life span of a tortoise must seem to drag on forever for them.

Certainly a long life span offers some advantages, like the odd mixture of mirth and despair we get from watching our fellow humans repeat the same mistakes over and over. For me, I think the blessed part of it is watching the generations of our offspring growing up and generating offspring of their own.

The more I think about the choices for being part animal, the more I think about what it is to be human; all human. As I ponder that thought, I keep returning to the simple fact that, to me at least, being human means we are able to love our spouses and children and parents with a pure unadulterated, non-judgmental,  joy; sort of like a dog welcoming its master home.

Well, actually, maybe we’re not so different from some animals after all!

In case you missed it, the news of the human-animal hybridization efforts was cited at the following link, and elsewhere


*My apologies if you created the walking frog drawing. Send me your information and I’ll give you proper credit. Same thing for the other graphics which I believe to be in the public domain.