I dream of flying


For as long as I have remembered, I have dreamt of flying. I stand under a blue sky with my arms lifted and then gently push off from the earth and fly, almost float, above my world.  Hope follows me out of these dreams, and I feel as if I share a secret with the sky.


When I was five or six, my father went on a trip and came home with a bracelet and necklace for me. I still have the set. Patterned after the silver and turquoise jewelry common among Native American tribes of the West, it is imitation jewelry, made for children. The necklace holds a rounded horseshoe-shaped piece in the middle, and my father told me that if I held that piece and made a wish, any wish, it would come true.


When you are a child, your nighttime dreams seem as real as your daytime life. I never thought that I was just dreaming about flying; I believed I was flying at night. In the morning, I landed back in this other world, held firmly in the arms of the jealous earth.

The day after I received the jewelry set from my father, I stood on the red brick planter in front of our porch, wearing the bracelet and necklace. One hand grasped the turquoise piece in the middle of the necklace, and the other held my nighttime dream, wrapped up in a daytime wish. I named my wish and saw myself soaring near the elm trees in the yard. Then I jumped.


The earth would not let go of me, and I landed on my feet, one hand still grasping the necklace, the other one empty. I watched my hope take wing and leave me, the sky indifferent to my longing. Children have their own sorrows and know the loss of dreams, sometimes before they have the words to tell you.


For many years, I kept a journal of my nighttime dreams, but for the last five years, my mind has chosen to forget. The other night I stood in a field and the sky called for me, like an old friend inviting me back. Featherless, I flew into that place of my childhood joy, the place of belonging. When I awoke, I could almost hear birds singing in the empty winter trees, a song familiar and forgotten, with a melody of hope.

43 thoughts on “I dream of flying

  1. How beautiful! I dream of flying almost every other night. It’s wonderful! I think my biggest wish is to be able to fly. With my dreams, flying is strange, like gravity doesn’t quite know what to make of it and therefore turning can be difficult and awkward. Sometimes, I fly too far and have to do some sort of inconvenient manoeuvre to be able to get to where I want to be. Such is life, I suppose: complications get in the way of things.

    Isn’t it unlucky for a horseshoe to be upside-down (all the luck will fall out of the ends)? Perhaps that’s why your wish didn’t come true!

    • You are a prolific flyer, olletron. I rarely dream of flying these days, so I was happy the other morning when I awoke and remembered my dream.

      The little pendant has a horseshoe shape, but it’s really called a “naja” and is very common in Navajo jewelry. From what I’ve read, it was fashioned after the ornaments on horse bridles. So maybe you must be on a horse to fly. 🙂

  2. I don’t normally have flying dreams, but I do occasionally have lucid dreams (where, in the middle of the dream, I’ll realize I’m dreaming) — and whenever that happens, the first thing I do is fly.

  3. I too, long to fly.

    I still hope to one day do so, and I hope to see you there as well.

    Beautiful post – thanks so much for sharing it!

  4. KatherinesDaughter

    I occasionally have dreams where I am flying. I swear I can remember the fear (at first) of being so high up. I can also remember the lump in my throat. Thanks for the great post…Joanne

  5. I actually got a tear in my eye reading this. The part where you said, “I watched my hope take wing and leave me…Children have their own sorrows and know the loss of dreams..” was gut-wrenching. I watch my little girl grow up (she’s 10 now) and she still believes in Santa Claus, but I wonder for how much longer? When she no longer believes in magic, a little bit of me will die, I think. Innocence lost is tragic. It is inevitable, but I don’t want it to be.

  6. I think this still happens to us as adults…we cling to certain hopes and dreams and beliefs. We need these things, and it can hurt when they leave us, no matter how old we get. That child is inside us, still, continually learning and growing up.

  7. riatarded

    This is so beautiful, both the post and the jewelry! I think it is so adorable that after all these years, you still have the jewelry.

    I still do have those flying dreams and they are so much fun!

    I would love to read more about your dreams:) Great post!

  8. Julie Catherine

    I have nominated you to respond to Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments! If you want to join in the fun, please see my blog for more details ~ Julie 🙂

  9. Oh now you are conjuring up memories for me, As a teenager I had these dreams often, And they were so real. I would gently lean forward, push my legs off the floor and there I would be …. about three feet off the ground. Then I would float from room to room, reveling in the wonderful sensation of weightlessness. I loved it.

    But I knew these were just dreams, The real world was solid and nailed down firmly by gravity. Or space-time warps, as I later learned, People couldn’t fly,.

    But those dreams were SO real and so persistent, One day at the advanced age of 18, when I should have known better, i woke up convinced that I really could fly, if I could get my feet up quickly enough and extend my body fully like a flying squirrel,

    I took a nice little bounce, lifted my feet off smartly and landed on the floor with a horrible crash. My father faced up the stairs to see if I was demolishing my bedroom. I lay there on the floor, miserably disappointed …. and horribly embarassed.

    I haven’t tried it since, Do you suppose if we all got together in a field and REALLY concentrated we could lift off? I’m loathe to forfeit my dream even now.

  10. I used to fly, too, and visit people and places. One time, I went to London and it was raining. When I woke up, my socks were wet. When I went to take them off, I realized I wasn’t wearing socks at all. The last time I flew I was about 15. I lived on Crete and flew over the fields of grape vines and olive trees toward the blue, blue sea. I so wish I could do it again. I’m glad you got another chance.

  11. It’s called Astro Projection. When we leave our bodies and explore our past, our future, the world beyond.

    I use to do this as a kid so much. I loved it. Then one day I convinced myself (as we do in adulthood) that I really couldn’t fly.

    It’s sad actually, based off all the comments, we all view it as a happy time and we all seem to miss it.

    Thanks for posting. Nice memories.

  12. Lovely.
    Do you know Dylan Thomas’ “Reminiscences of Childhood”? The moment at the end when he, as an adult, imagines revisiting the boys and the playground and actually taking flight is like this….

  13. As a little one, I used to concentrate very hard, make my wish and try to enter the other side of the mirror. The l loss of that dream and the disappointment are still quite tangible. And maybe it so tangible because one of these days, like Alice, I just may get to the other side of that mirror.

    • I remember thinking about the other side of the mirror, but I don’t remember wanting to go there. Now I just wish the old woman standing on the other side would move, so I could see what I really look like. 🙂

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