A Flying Dream

“Somewhere Over China”, by Robert Leedy, watercolor sketch from a Travelogue sketchbook by Handbook, 4 1/2″ x 7 1/4″.


My goal was to get home. I didn’t know where home was. Worse, I didn’t know where I was at the moment. No one was allowed to leave this place. My guess is I was in Soviet-era Russia. And just like a spy novel, there were hostile, military guards everywhere. I had no idea of what direction to travel but I knew if I just kept going in the same direction I would get there. A helpful stranger pointed me in a direction and said, “Keep China on your right and you’ll find the way.”

“How will I know what is China?” I asked.

“You will see the demarcation from above – it is very obvious.”

He was right. From the air, China looked like a painted winter snowstorm in a forest of defoliated trees. Industrial-looking buildings dotted the landscape though they did not take away from the overall beauty of the view. The bare trees looked as if they were beautifully drawn ink lines. The entire scene was in black & white. But this was only my view to my right: the view to the left was Russia. From the air, the landscape had a faded orange tint with and an illustrated industrial feel from the 1930s. Russia? Orange? No, there is no Trump reference. I left him out of this dream. The snowfall was heavier on this side. There were more factories. Both views were deep in the heart of nowhere.

From the air, you wonder? My transportation was a hang glider. Oh yes, and this is a dream so, the hang glider was to my dream specifications. In other words, it was very compact with a 12-foot wingspan, could fit in a backpack, very portable, and could be pulled out, put on, and used in seconds. I also had a pair of mountaineering skis that seemed to come out on-demand as I needed them. I did not dwell on the idea that this was more like a video game and not a real-life situation. But I told you this was a dream, didn’t I? Remember, hostile guards, sub-zero conditions, unsure directions, loneliness, and wild leaps into the unknown. Oh, and the guards were always shooting at me. But this was a flying dream and that makes it fun despite the danger all around me. I flew at a moment’s notice usually from a very high vantage point that started as a jump and with the confidence that I would be flying after a rush of adrenaline forced through my body. I was fleeing a hostile country. Going home, I think. Like a migratory bird, I never gave the direction I was headed much thought. But remember, this is a dream – I did tell you that, right? The flying part is what empowers the dream. The entertainment factor, you know? I ran as fast as I could and I was airborne after a last-minute sense of doom. All in a lot of different situations. I could also jump and fly from a standing still position. But most of my flights started from a very high tree or rooftop with a little trust that my innate aeronautical skills would kick in at the last minute.

My first chase was in a wooded area with several connecting clearings. Two Russian guards on an ATV drove across one of the clearings and saw me through the trees. I ran as fast as I could and saw a mountain peak in the distance as my target destination. They got closer to me and I caught air just in time. My body lifted over the landscape and I prayed the flight would get me to that far away peak. I heard gunshots but nothing hit me. This flying shit was still new to me and I was learning on the job. There were a lot of intuitive actions and it was fairly easy to grasp this new sport. I made it to the peak. I knew the guards had radioed more guards and soon the whole country would be after me. My journey was from point to point. Rhyme or reason, I had no clue. Never a dull moment. Always a challenge in front of me.

I walked into a ski rental building of a large ski resort. People were turning their equipment in after a full day of skiing. I was going against the current. No, I did not speak Russian, I knew that the woman who sat at a cash register was telling me, “Sir, you cannot go this way.“ Remember, this is a dream and my language skills were pretty good. I ignored her and pushed my way through the crowd – out onto the ski area. This is where my skis magically appear like daggers coming out of Maxwell Smart’s 1960s-styled Beatle boots. The slopes were closing. It was late afternoon, and that orange Soviet glow was painting the mountain. Remember, I told you this was a dream, didn’t I? I thought I was alone until a man skied along beside me.

“Do you want to make a run together?“ He asked.

This guy whose name I never knew, had the same bells and whistles I did. A hang glider in his backpack and a pair of mountaineering skis that were weightless and appeared out of nowhere. This was my traveling companion throughout a good part of the dream. He was kind of like a figure who pushed me on during moments of doubt in challenging situations. And there were lots of those. Remember, did I tell you this was a dream?

We skied along a trail that just so happened to be my direction home. I think. Our hang gliders popped out just as some hostile men were chasing us and yelling for us to stop. Gunfire erupted. I closed my eyes and winced to keep the bullets from hitting me. A little adrenaline rush and a quick lift into the air. We flew several miles and landed on top of an ancient building that was precariously positioned on the top of an exaggerated mountain in a Transylvania-like scene from an old Dracula movie. We scrambled to get to a window to climb inside. A lot of walking along ledges with dizzying views below. There were snow and ice piled up and we slipped a lot. We made it inside only to find guess what? Hostile military guards with guns. The building was like a maze in a dream. I did mention this was a dream, right? We found a patio with an amazing panoramic view and a straight drop for thousands of feet. It was simply a matter of jumping over the ledge. Flying was all about mind control. You got the feel for it quickly but it required a lot of concentration. Yes, there were gaps and those gaps usually meant very sudden drops in altitude like one experiences in maintenance-overdue Argentinian airlines flying over the Andes. Airborne. Out of range of those bullets and on our way.

I traveled for several days, possibly several weeks, with my new found friend. I never asked him where he was going; you don’t ask things like that in the dream, you know? We parted directions at a wilderness river that forked in remarkable fashion. I waited for Jimmy Stewart, the trail guide, to appear from the ridge behind me. He never did…

There were other brief contacts with other people. I mean friendly ones not military guards with guns shooting at me. I used my flying skills knowing they expired the moment I woke up. I flew off cliff faces, skied mountain couloirs, and fooled hostile types in pursuit. I saw beauty, I experienced danger, and I pissed in my pants more than once. What I have shared with you is only a fraction of my dream experience. I thought about my final destination and wondered whether or not my chosen path would take me home. I remember thinking what the fuck am I going to do when I get to the Bering Strait? Yes, you think I failed middle school geography but this is how our minds work in dreams: fucked up with no reason nor respect for what is learned. The only thing certain is uncertainty. Is predictability necessarily tolerable?

The thrill of flying was the main theme in this dream. It was so much fun and so real, it compelled me to write this. I don’t know if I ever got home…

but it’s all about the journey, not the destination don’t you know?

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