Falling’s Just Like Flying
It is impossible to truly experience another person’s dream. It is impossible to see it, to experience it, in the same way as the person who dreamed it. No matter how eloquent the verbiage used in the telling, you are not designed to feel and know the secrets of another’s sleep addled mind. But we’re going to try. I am going to try to press my dream into your very senses. Are you ready?
Before it begins, allow us to set the mood. The tone, if you will, of the journey in which you are about to embark on. It isn’t necessary, in the grand scheme of things, to force yourself to slip into the music as you read, but it will help you connect the dots. It will help you, in the long run, feel things in a way that you are not designed to feel.
Simply press play, listen, and read.
Close your eyes, but only for a moment. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Hold it. Continue to hold it. Let it out.
Breathe in, let it out. Imagine that the air is gradually getting colder and colder as you suck it into your lungs. Each greedy gulp of air comes with the bite of winter; a memory of frost, chapped lips, and cheeks that have started to burn red. Breath in, hold it, and imagine you can see your breath in warm plumes as you exhale.
It’s night. It’s always night, and there are no noises beyond the sound of frozen grass crunching beneath your bare feet. Your toes, the sole of your foot, the curve of your heel – they’re all cold, but it’s not important. The coldness does not register, not really. It’s a bite at the skin as you take one, two, three more steps out into the clearing in the dead of the night.
The sky is dark, but there are stars. The moon is just a sliver of a Cheshire grin against the backdrop, and the valleys and mountains of your ankles shake with your fourth, fifth, sixth step in the never ending cold night.
Breath in. You can taste winter in the back of your throat, roiling along the inner walls of your chill-stung throat and curling, languidly and heavily, in the bottom of your lungs. Like cigarette smoke coiling around the sharp taste of spearmint. If you can’t imagine the taste, then perhaps one day you can recreate it by inhaling a puff from a menthol cigarette and expelling the smoke through your nose. The taste, as you exhale, is the taste of cold winter air.
The world around you is dark, and while the field is vast, there are trees within eyesight. They pepper a border you’re intrinsically afraid of – past that, beyond the waving branches of pine are all the troubles of the waking world. You do not want to go there. You remain, in the cold winter air, alone in the center of the field. There is no point of origin from which you came, no small hut with a warm fire and a hot meal waiting for you to return to. There is only you, the field, the cold, and the unyielding silence.
There is no snow. Snow would make the silence less eerie, more understandable. There is no snow.
The world is a flash of muted colors, cold and uninviting, and you are there in the middle of your field.
You jump – a small thing, at first – and your toes curl against the frozen grass that never seems to melt under the touch of your bare flesh. It simply remains frozen. You jump a second time, only slightly higher than the first time, and land neatly. Just like before.
There is a wind, a current so weak you barely believe it’s there. But it is there. You feel it in the way your hair moves of it’s own volition, and you jump for a third time. You float, just centimeters above the ground, until your toes touch the ground and you are back on both feet.
The wind grows stronger. You cannot hear it, but you can feel it. It’s a cold hand that envelopes your entire body and you jump. There is meaning, and intent, and you jump straight up, arms out to the side, and catch the wind.
You have no control as you ascend, like a kite with a popped string. You don’t go too high, not as high as the trees off in the distance, and you do not stray too far from your spot before the wind dies down and you descend, slowly, back to the ground.
There is a niggling sensation. A pulling; your fingers, though cold and tense, twitch and your palms begin to feel slippery and clammy. The treeline is close, not too close, and your heart begins to hammer in your chest. The outside world, outside of the safety of your field, feels like it is getting closer. It is closing in, as if the trees were being pushed closer to you. And yet… they have not moved, not an inch.
Another wind, stronger than the last, rushes by and does not stop. It spins you like a top until you are too dizzy to stand and you feel your knees buckle and you brace yourself for a hard land on the ground. The shock of it radiates through you as you try to find your bearings. You stand on shaking legs and stare at the treeline. You feel the need to jump. The urge tickles at you until you bend your knees, the wind howling in your ears without making a single sound, and you jump up.
Higher, higher, higher still. Above the trees, tossed about by the violent wind. Higher, even still, your rise until you’re sure you’re going to float up to the moon. Fear courses through you in debilitating waves as you’re tossed about like a ship on stormy waters. Your try and will yourself down, try to turn your body about in some direction that will lead you back to the safety of the ground – why did you do this, why did you jump?
The world is frozen over, everything is muted grays and white that seems to glow under the light of the moon. Your feet are dangling below you, head held high, and once the treacherous wind becomes something more manageable you realize you have left your field, gone straight over the treeline, and have been blown so far that you can see a small town that has been quieted with sleep just below. You do not want to come down. You want to stay – oh, wind, let you stay – but you cannot. You begin to come down slowly. So very, very slowly.
You’re halfway down and the fear is coursing through you so fast that you feel the air being sucked from your lungs. You’ve never had a proper panic attack before, and you wonder if this is what one feels like before the irrational fear sweeps over you again and you’re thrashing and trying to scream but no words are coming out. The sounds of your mouth are devoured by the cold and silent night. The wind stops, you’re still so far from the ground, just at the tops of the so very tall trees. You come crashing down, mouth open with no sound coming out as the cold asphalt of the street rushes up to meet you… and you wake up.
Falling’s just like flying, except there’s a more permanent destination.