Do you remember it?
Nothing quite matched the feeling of pedaling down the paved lane, firmly ensconced in the big, comfy saddle. Pumping for all you were worth, flying low, both arms would be spread out like great pinions on the hawks that ruled the sky above.
Look mom! No hands!
Was there ever such a feeling? If there was, I don’t remember it.
I wanted to soar with the eagles. Riding that bicycle was as close as anything I ever experienced.
“I bet I can ride all the way home without touching the handlebars!”
“Bet you can’t!”
All the way up the road, this tow-headed kid rode, arms outstretched, and legs pumping. The smile on his face didn’t leave for an hour after he reached the gravel circle drive—without once grabbing for the handlebars in panic.
I never had the dream as a kid. It only started when I was grown-up. It’s a strange dream for an adult to have, or at least, to admit to having.
For years, I’ve dreamed of flying. Not in an airplane, but really flying, arms spread wide, climbing on the wind currents and looking down at the open spaces below, for all the world like an eagle.
No fake wings. No super-hero’s cape.
Just me—arms spread wide. Flying.
It wasn’t the kind of dream that terrifies. I’ve had my share of those. Falling from the edges of cliffs so high the ground below can’t be seen—Running from terror behind me, feet sticking to the ground like a fly in molasses.
Those dreams steal your strength while you sleep.
The soaring dream though, that one always left me wishing I could sleep a little longer. I was happy when I had that dream.
I want to soar with the eagles.
I realized today that I haven’t had the dream for awhile. I’m not sure why. I thought earlier tonight, as I lay in bed with sleep eluding me, that perhaps it had something to do with my taking up bike riding again.
It’s possible. I no longer stretch my arms out and pretend to soar, but I do feel like I’m flying low sometimes. There’s a freedom and a childlike joy in riding the country roads and byways at breakneck speed, pushing—always pushing—faster.
Maybe I just don’t need the dream anymore. It may have absolutely nothing to do with the cycling.
The prophet, way back before Jesus, said the words. I remember singing a song with them set to music as a child.
For they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings; they shall mount up with wings, as eagles.
They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(James Granaham ~ 1840-1907)
New strength. Stamina to go the distance, while younger, stronger folks drop out.
Wings to fly. Wings like the eagle’s.
And suddenly, I also remember the funny (nearly) saying which I first heard a number of years ago.
It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you’re surrounded by turkeys.
Inexplicably, my mind is drawn to the memory of an annual event in a village not too many miles away from the beautiful town in which I reside. While it’s no longer advertised due to a lot of negative (probably for good reasons) publicity, this little town featured (and still does, by some accounts) something they called a turkey drop during their annual festival.
Small planes would buzz the crowds at low altitudes—and low speeds—as a person in the craft dropped live turkeys from the window.
That’s right. Live turkeys.
It wasn’t always a pretty sight. Turkeys don’t fly much. Some, not at all. There were always a few that made it to the ground relatively unharmed. Then there were the ones that simply splatted on the ground below, dying immediately.
Turkeys don’t fly much.
They’re not known for their nobility (or mobility, for that matter).
In the wild, they hide, using the ground cover to avoid their enemies. If you’re not looking for them, you would almost never see one.
They blend into the scenery. The most you’ll ever notice is their distinctive Gobble, Gobble, Gobble call. It’s how they attract each other. While remaining invisible to most of us.
I’ve never dreamed about being a turkey.
We were created for better things than hiding in the bushes and calling to each other.
Yet somehow, that seems to be what we do, more often than not.
I want to have a bigger impact on my world than that.
There’s still time. The sky is still up there waiting.
I just hope I don’t have to grab for the handlebars before I reach home.
…and there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces.
(Herman Melville ~ American novelist ~ 1819-1891)
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31 ~ NLT)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.