It’s now difficult for me to remember exactly how it first happened. My mind must have been doing its usual daydreaming – wandering aimlessly, reminiscing on half remembered sights, sounds, smells, tastes, circumstances, senses of ‘place’. A nostalgic, pleasant, poignant reverie. The aimless thinking that we all do. I don’t recall exactly what else I was doing at the time. Maybe sorting through my CDs or books, nothing significant in my pleasant, dusty lounge room.
My mind went to a place. A new place, but somewhere right. A place that felt familiar, that I’d already vaguely known about but, in retrospect, hadn’t wanted to visit before. Like going into the sea for the first time. Or visiting Paris or New York. Novel but deliciously familiar. Some perfectly ordinary new way of seeing the world. Just a tiny shift in perception. But once gained it is always present. Like clicking a switch that can’t be turned off. And then I ‘knew’. A deep organic realisation. Not rational and therefore not communicateable. Not really a method. There it just was. A new but totally familiar me.
I thought in that new way, very gently. I knew what would happen. Part of me was astounded. But a deeper part of my mind already was fully aware, accepting. I drifted slowly, gracefully off the green carpet, guided only by my mind. In a gentle arc I avoided a Balinese angel ornament hanging from a light fixture, tilted somewhat sideways, paused about 30 cm parallel to the ceiling, noted the build up of dust on top of my bookcases and slowly returned to the floor, landing close to where I had been standing. I felt good. Released, another part of my growing up accomplished (at nearly 50!). More complete, aware. Also very stunned, weak-kneed, sweating and pleasantly alarmed. What?! I did another flight, effortlessly circumnavigating my small lounge room in about 3 seconds, the wind of my flight sending magazine covers flapping, papers flying. The power of it amazed me, elated me.
Steady boy! Take it easy. I wanted to try it out. Go outside. Do the shopping sans car. Visit friends, cafes. Save on petrol, air flights. Practical considerations began to surface. It’d be cold a few hundred meters up. I’d need some kind of warm suit (an image of Rocket Man in leathers made me cringe). Also altitude/breathing problems would be best avoided. And I might need a protective helmet and padding. Well, what if I ran into a bird? And staying well away from aircraft and electricity power lines seemed a good idea. And how would I ‘handle’ in bad weather, strong winds? Flying about in the rain would not be much fun, either.
And how would other people react? Best to be cautious. I imagined telling my friends. Watching their faces change from affectionate concern for my metal state to amazement and alarm as I start drift off the floor or the furniture. No, not kind. And could they keep silent about this secret of mine? It’d be too much to expect of them.
Anyhow, later that night (around 2am), I tried out my new ability in the dead end street where I live. No one else was around. I drifted slowly up from the road, carefully avoiding electric power cables and tree branches. At 10 metres a night-flying bird whizzed by squawking with alarm, or maybe just welcoming me to the ‘club’. I felt like giving chase, playfully. I knew that I could – easily match it’s speed and manoeuvrability. In fact much faster. I resisted the temptation to blaze into the night. I continued drifting up, over my block of flats, avoiding lighted windows in case some one saw me.
It was a warm summer night but as I drifted slowly upwards I felt a sudden drop in air temperature, at about 300- 400 metres. My suburb was spread beneath me – isolated lights and the darkened shapes of buildings. Some bats passed close by, silently, avoiding in me in graceful curves. The rustle of their passage sounded so close, so new. I wanted to stay where I was. Effortlessly suspended in mid air. Fall asleep – would I remain aloft if I wasn’t awake?
Then I thought it through a bit more. People would see. The police would be called. The army, air force, fire brigade, officialdom. I would become an object of national interest, concern. Was I a terrorist? Did I have military potential? Could I be exploited to make some one else rich? I’d become a news/infotainment topic for the ruthless media. My anonymity would be gone forever. Probably some secret government security agency would capture me, try to learn my secret. What could I tell them? Would it show up on electronic instruments, brain scans? I knew nothing, except how I feel. And there were no words for that. I could provide no possible explanation. I was sure that it was a physical process, some overlooked or as yet undiscovered branch of physics and physiology – I have no patience with magical explanations of unexplained phenomena. They’d keep me permanently incarcerated, studying, probing, effectively torturing, even if unintentionally.
Therefore hiding my flying ability, and preserving my anonymity, was paramount. The realisation became stronger. I really could not afford to fly about very often. Certainly not in public or where anyone could possibly observe me. This actually came as a relief. I didn’t have to solve this problem. I’d just have this ability and not use it very much.
That was about a decade ago. No one else knows about this ‘gift’. In the intervening years I’ve occasionally indulged myself by going to isolated locations and flying about with speed and abandon. After a few hours I’ll have had enough and I’ll drive back to civilisation and to my normal life. I think an occasional bushwalker may have spotted me flying in the distance but no harm seems to have been done.
I no longer have any fear of heights (of course). But paradoxically I fear for other people potentially falling from heights when I’m around. Because then my first instinct would be to try and save them and so I’d loose my anonymity. Once when I was bush walking with a friend in the mountains I was able to prevent him from being injured when he fell off a cliff. He stumbled (possibly fainted) and fell side ways off the trail into a gorge. I was easily able to overtake his falling body and ease him down to the ground at the base of the cliff. He recovered his senses and and dazedly accepted my improvised explanation. Nothing else made sense, anyway. He has mentioned this incident several times since, probing for more details. I finally said that I flew down and saved him. The silliness of this made him laugh, although his curiosity remains.
I’ve redecorated my flat, with no concern for the height of objects. I fact I’d love to own an apartment with 10m ceilings and shelves all the way up. I’ve also found that sometimes I float when I’m asleep and have woken up gently bumping into the ceiling. Once when I was staying in a foreign hotel a restless night caused me to drift out the 14h floor balcony window while I was still asleep. I awoke at about 5am at sunrise, floating about 4 metres out from the hotel. Luckily no one saw me, except for a small child about 2 floors down on a hotel balcony. She was looking up at me with wondering expression. I quickly flew back to my to my room. Later that day I shared an elevator with the child and her parents. She stared intently at me, but said nothing. I smiled politely back.
I find that I am able to lift quite heavy weights, more than I could by muscular strength alone. As long as my skeletal frame can stand the strain this ‘levitation force’ seems to have no limitations. It really is an interesting phenomenon, although one that feels quite natural. I wonder- is this ability genetically inherited? Have I gained the capacity to fly from some equally nonplussed, elevating ancestor? Could either of my parents do this? They’re both gone now, so I’ll never know. I couldn’t broach this with my surviving siblings, I’m not close and they might worry that I was loosing my mind.
So this is my brief report. Possibly others who also share this ability to fly will take heart from this account – I don’t imagine that I’m the only person who can do this. But I have no interest in meeting with others who share this capacity. Well, would you want to socialise with other people just because they could also walk, breath, see? I imagine that there lots of other people with a diverse range of abilities that would be considered strange to the world at large, all living anonymously and anxious to stay out of sight of the generally xenophobic population. I understand this now.