Sometimes I dream some really strange stuff. When I was growing up I had a re-occurring dream. I would be flying in an airplane and then all of a sudden out of nowhere a mountain appears. You know what happens next, the plane flies out of control and straight into the mountain. I vowed never to fly in a plane, but thankfully I over came my fear and did. Some would have taken these dreams to heart and never have flown?
My first flight was in a single engine, something or other. It had a pilot, co-pilot and two other seats. My best friend’s husband was the pilot; he flew for a private corporation out of Greensboro. When they invited me to come fly with them, I was probably in my mid twenties, so the carefree, live forever side of me won over and I pushed the dream out of my mind.
I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live. I rode in the co-pilots seat and when we were airborne and soaring high over the Piedmont, Mike says, “You want to drive?” I said, “NO,” and I didn’t. One new thrill at a time is all this country girl can take. Anyway, I was too busy watching the scenery below. We headed from Greensboro up toward The Blue Ridge Mountains and my home. The Yadkin River looked like a small stream. Buildings and houses were mere specks. Then the Brushy Mountains loomed a bit larger than any of the other landscape up ahead.
Our destination was to do a fly over and take pictures of our farmhouse, barn and the twelve acres that surrounded it. It’s amazing how things look from above. The tin roof of the barn and house needed painting. Our tiny one bedroom home looked like nothing more than a shed, and I realized just how small twelve acres is. I clicked several pictures as Mike flew the craft around in circles. Our little homestead didn’t look very impressive from above, but I knew what those walls held, love, warmth and family.
I would fly several other times over the next twenty-five years, home from St. Lewis. Two trips back and forth from New York to North Carolina and then the sixteen-hour trip to Kauai. I have to tell you about that. First of all it was my husbands first flight, ever. You should have seen his face when the pilot gunned the engines and we shot like a bullet down that runway. Jerry’s eyes were as big as saucers. I just sat there hoping he wouldn’t have a heart attack or something. Truth is, he said that was the part he loved most about flying. All that power and testosterone you know.
As darkness filled the sky that evening we were flying over the ocean. In another few hours the captain came over the intercom and told us that we were approaching Kauai. He said that he would be circling several times but didn’t tell us why. Boy did we circle. At times it seemed as if the plane were tilted at a 90-degree angle. If the seatbelts were not holding us we would have surely fallen out. It wasn’t until the next morning when we rose to the beautiful surroundings that we saw why we had been tilting and circling. Huge mountains encompassed the paradise, and the airport sat at the base of those mountains. The pilot had been tilting so as to fit between those orbs. I was already dreading our take off in six days… you know me, my dreams and mountains.
Since then my husband and I have had the opportunity to fly to Alaska and Mexico. What a spectacular land Alaska is. I could write a book about it, and I just might some day. Now Mexico was a bit scary. When we landed at the airport of Cancun, there were military men lined up holding guns. We were escorted off the plane and straight to customs. At the time you didn’t have to have a passport to enter Mexico, just your birth certificate. Jerry and I had them, but they were not our certified birth certificates! Terrified that we would have to stay in this strange country we awaited our turn to be interrogated. After much talking and pleading they let us in, but then there was the fear during our stay, worrying if we would be allowed out! Lesson learned, I now have a passport!
I wonder sometimes about all the things I would have missed if I’d let my bothersome dreams rule my life. My daughter and I wouldn’t have bargained for silver jewelry on the streets of New York City or seen Lady Liberty. I would never have stood on the shores of Kauai and watched my good friend and her husband say their wedding vows, or ate lunch in the outdoor restaurant where chickens and cats roamed freely. I would not have witnessed the magic as I watched the massive bodies of Humpback whales as they jumped up and out of the frigid waters of Alaska. Or stood upon the tundra and listened as a native Alaskan woman told of the sorrows of losing her son at a young age. I would have missed the crystal clear waters of Cancun and not known the hospitality of the Mexican people.
So much would have been lost to me if I’d let my fears rein my actions. I believe that sometimes dreams do come true. But who is smart enough to analyze which ones will or will not. The re-occurring dream I now have is that I lose my purse. At a restaurant, grocery store, all kinds of places. What do I do about that? Hide away at home and never go anywhere I would need to spend money?
Bottom line is this. Sometimes dreams are frightening. They can make us wake up in a cold sweat and linger with us through the day. But, what would our lives be like without our dreams? To dream is to live, to live is to experience, to experience is to grow. What if I’d let my fear of rejection stop me from continuing to send out my manuscript to publishers after that first no? I would not be on this crazy, yet wonderful ride I’m on now. I would not have the joy of holding a real live book that I created in my own hands. Our dreams while sleeping, and the ones we have while awake can scare us to death. I don’t know about you, but I choose to cower away from neither… for fear of missing something!