We humans often struggle (at least I do) to fully capture in concise language the feelings we have for one another and the interactions we have with one another. So we use personal experiences and cultural references to help color the pictures we try to paint with words. Metaphor is a powerful tool in this mission.

Flight is often used as a metaphor for freedom, independence, new life, even plain happiness. I’ve used flight as a metaphor on this blog (as countless others have before me) as a metaphor for love. I’ve used it to describe the love that Special Femme and I have found together and the freedom we have to choose our own path together.

And I think I’ve got a tiny insight as to why the metaphor is so compelling for so many aspects of the human experience, despite our inability to fly unassisted by artificial aids.

Earlier this week, while waiting for a meeting to start, I watched out the conference room window as two eagles soared high over a stand of trees, riding the thermals. As I watched, it seemed clear from their lack of pattern and generally relaxed pace that they weren’t hunting, weren’t fussed about anything. They were just flying for the pleasure of it.

They had the innate ability to do it, so they were. No over-thinking. No dithering about whether they should fly or not. No debate over where to go. Just taking to wing and soaring, letting the sun-warmed air take them aloft and propel them at it’s whim. Pure, unadorned enjoyment of their own bodies, their true selves.

That pure simplicity, flying just because you can, is, for me, the truth behind the metaphors.

Souls yearn to express their essence, to do and be exactly what they are and enjoy it. Stripped of the flash and pomp of elaborate description and heavy morality, that’s what the human spirit desires most: simply to be who we are without complication, judgement, or artifice.

Just as the eagles appeared to savor, revel in the simple joy of being their true selves through flight, people feel as if they take flight, are set free when they follow their dreams. There is freedom and power and joy in people allowing themselves to be their truest selves, live the lives they want, love who they love.

That’s what I’m working on in my life. I still have a long way to go to achieve the fabled state of authenticity. And I have yet to complete the essential step of coming out to my family. Yet, I have begun an epic journey of self discovery and personal improvement. I’m working on giving my dreams wings.

How fitting, then, that the most significant step in following my dream of loving where my heart takes me begins with a 10.5 thousand mile, 36 hour, 3-leg airplane journey to a faraway place to be with my faraway love.

As I wait to board the second flight, to get to the plane that will take me on the longest flight and the shortest step to joy, I remember those eagles. I think I know how they felt.

Free. Pure. True. Natural.

I’m taking the most natural step of all: following my heart home to the one I love. I’m soaring, and not just on aluminum wings. Soaring through dreams, buoyed by well wishes of friends, and held aloft by anticipation of joy.

Here I go!


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