A Castle in Spain
All of this happened a long time ago when I was young and the world was new. I was riding a bay horse across a desolate Spanish landscape. In the distance a castle stood out against a gray and dreary sky. It was my destination, my hope of a bed for the night
I had already ridden for many hours and still had many hours to go. I was weary. Today I recall nothing of the rest of that ride, nothing at all. I cannot even remember the name and face of my host. He was a kindly man. I know that because he hustled me to a bedroom where I somehow undressed and collapsed into bed.
I slept the sleep of the dead for several hours and then awoke with a start. My host had lit a night lamp that filled the room with a faint gloom. I looked around at my surroundings. The room was large and the ceilings were high. The bed had a high headboard. There were some chests, an armoire, and a great chair. All of the wood was dark and bulky, and all of it was carved in the ancient Spanish style.
As I lay there a curious feeling overcame me. I was seized with the conviction that this was the time and this was the place. Here I could fly!
In those days I knew how to fly and how it felt to fly. I don’t mean flying in an airplane or a glider, or hanging from a parasail. I mean flying like a bird. I remember swooping and soaring, and coasting silently high above towns, watching the tiny people below. It is a marvelous sensation. Of course I had only done this in dreams, but I knew.
You must understand that I am one of those people whose dreams are very detailed, so real that when I wake sometimes I am not sure whether I was dreaming or whether I was remembering. So I knew when I woke what it was to have flown. I knew the sweetness of flight. Often when I had awakened from such a dream, I had the conviction that if I would but try it while just awake, every thing would be real and I could fly.
I never did, of course. I never could quite bring myself to try. I don’t know why. Perhaps I felt that if I tried and failed, it shut that door of possibility forever. As long as it remained a possibility, as long as that door was still open, there was still a chance that I could fly, not just in dreams, but in the waking world.
Thus it was that I knew deep within myself that this was the moment. I stood up. I lifted one foot and placed it as though there were a step in the air. I tested it. Yes!! It was there!! It was precarious at first, with a texture and substance like stepping on jello. It firmed as I gained confidence. I put my weight on it and it held. It is a curious feeling, walking on steps in the air that you cannot see.
Step by step I rose until I reached a height from which I could launch myself. This was another scarey moment. What if I pushed off and simply fell? But I gathered myself. I could do it. I had done it before. All I had to do was to do it, knowing it would happen.
And I did. I soared around that bedroom, dodging furniture on all sides. It was not easy – I learned then how a bird must feel to be in a cage that only permits a fragment of flight. Still, it was flight, and I was doing it, and I was incandescently happy. And then …
… and then I woke up. I lay there half asleep, aware that I had awakened from a dream in which I had dreamed I had awakened. And then I realized that the awareness that here I could fly was not part of the dream. So I got up and tested the air just as I had in my dream. I launched myself into the air just as I had in my dream. I soared and swooped about the room. And then …
… as before, I woke up. And so it began. In dream after dream I would wake up with the conviction that I could fly. In dream after dream I would test the air, I would launch myself into the air, I would soar and I would swoop, and then I would awaken, only to dream the dream again. Quite unaware of it, I was trapped in an endless cycle of dreams until …
… I truly woke up. I wasn’t in Spain.
This page was last updated September 1, 2009.