GLIDING INTO FLIGHT
Dreamed 1993/11/15 by Chris Wayan
I'm meeting my hypnotherapist, Shelley, in her house instead of her office. Instead of her asking me "what's up with you?" I beat her to it. "What's up with YOU?"
She says, "Well... I've been traveling all over the Bay Area this week, inspecting all my houses." Houses? Yes, she has at least four. At first I think she means she's investing in real estate, and she's got tenants; but no, she rotates living in several houses like other therapists do offices!
And she changes lifestyles to match. One day in an Emeryville artist's live-work commune, the next in a quiet suburban Piedmont home, then a day in a Victorian near the Panhandle, the next in a scrapwood squat she built in a warehouse in Soma, the next a small Silicon Valley apartment. From mansions to cardboard boxes...
Shelley's house today is a bit like a cafe, with chairs all over, and low tables. People visit and sign her guest-book. They're all from the Blind Architectural Institute in Berkeley. I'm unsure just what that means--blind architects? Architecture for blind people? Or is it a style of architecture? (Exploded diagrams don't require a fuse, after all. And ground plans aren't hamburger). Maybe it's like blind testing? I'm too embarrassed to ask. They're another group Shelley may want to join, live with one day a week. She's still deciding.
So I want therapy, my hour is ticking by, and these weird people are flopping all over, multiplying like tribbles. As we start the session proper a guy butts in, asking Shelley "Can I use your stereo headphones?" Annoyed, Shelley says "Okay, but keep them on tight so we don't hear any spill-over, we're doing therapy here." But we're right by the stereo, of course the headset is hooked to the stereo. So the guy stumbles all over us, and even when he gets things set up and walks around the corner from us, as far away as he can, he's still very close, and inhibits me from talking.
I give up at last on doing useful work this session and look around. So many people now it's like a party. I want to meet women if I can't have therapy. But... everyone here seems unattractive. They're not ugly, but their faces all look weirdly similar--subtly absent, subtly dull. Is the Institute for people with some social or psychological blindness, one you'd only spot after seeing lots of cases?
I wander through the little groups forming as people flow in, but never find a knot I like. Eventually they occupy all the chairs and leave me standing alone outside them all. Familiar!
I have a pocket-sized notebook. I sit on the softest part of the rug and open the notebook and prepare to write. If no one interests me and I can't do therapy, I may as well get some dreamwork done, or write a poem or something...
But I find my notebook's become a collage of poems and photos, other people's work... I read some of them in puzzlement. As I do, the literary images turn into visual images and merge with the photos. I'm uncomfortable reading these with all these people around me who can look over my shoulder. Art is a private experience for me; I want more solitude. But I force myself to enter the poem, because even crippled as it is by my inability to enter fully, it's better company than these people. Its images disturb me: the phrase "swimming away past feminism" and the repeated images of waterfalls and cliffs in Yosemite Valley seen from a huge railroad bridge across the Merced, then huge freeway bridges... little winding channels with ducks below the bridges, a park? But strange things float at the waterline, no words for them but they came, I know, from words in the poem... towers in the background now, it can't be Yosemite, too craggy for the City... snow in the background: Oh! It's Vancouver!
I'm deep in the collage now, biking over Lions Gate Bridge, coasting down into Vancouver, which is mostly on the north side of the Bridge, not south as it used to be. I'm shouting the poem aloud now in thick Scots dialect: "Aboot this, and wha' hae that!" and I'm rolling off the bridge on my bicycle, carrying my foldable glider wings, looking for a place to take off. Due north of the bridge footing, a steep hill rises. I lug the wings up, pondering the distinction biologists make between true fliers and mere gliders. I'm a mere glider: I need a favorable height to launch from. But what does that mean, really? Just that I lack the strength to get up to airspeed with my legs or my bike. So? Any roof or high window will do.
So I launch and glide over the city, and turn into the wind and begin to climb. I decide the hell with these glider wings, and let them dissolve. I'm flying with my bare arms and feet now, swimming through the air. As always it takes the limit of my strength to stay up without props--but this is true flight, no need for special launching sites, no props.
And... I'm stronger. For the first time, I can fly and keep a little effort in reserve. And my endurance is increasing, I know I can stay up more than a few minutes, now: my body's changing. Dance training is working, whether therapy is or not. I'm flying.
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