With a big yawn, I exclaimed, “I dreamt I could fly!” I remember the weightless feeling of levitating like Superman into the air. From the time I was young, I have dreamed of flying both nocturnally and in conscious thought.
My brother and I would always see how much air we could get. I remember packing snow up over the old stump in the middle of our sledding hill to make a ramp and then feeling awesome as we smashed our tailbones. We would pile up all the boards we could find to make a ramp to turn our bikes into an ET taxi. On one poorly calculated bike maneuver, I remember flying off the front and skidding my face down the gravel hill. For all our attempts at liftoff, they all seemed to end somewhat painfully.
Last week when we got our new bull, I watched him strut around with his tall, proud head, handsome stature and thought, “He looks like he feels awesome!” When I got a little closer and checked out his ear tag, I laughed out loud, “Ha ha! Who wouldn’t feel awesome with a name like Liftoff! He makes his way around, giving off an air of excitement.
There are a lot of exciting things in life, but there are some things that top the charts on excitement. I’d say one of them is rockets. Did you know that for a rocket to go into low orbit space, it needs to travel a minimum of 17,000 MPH?
It looks like my son got the bug too. He regularly dons a cape and then zooms around the house with an airplane in each hand. Sitting in church last week, he had been playing with some magnets of various different shapes. When he was done placing them together he turned and, “whispering” like a four year old, said, “Dad, I made a rocket!”
I couldn’t help but whisper back, “Prepare for liftoff!” Maybe we all dream of those things that are just out of reach.
For me, there’s nothing quite as exciting as the thought of leaving the ground. Feet lifting up into the air, no longer feeling the weight of gravity. For all my life, I have dreamed of flying.
When I heard about paragliding for the first time, it almost seemed too good to be true. Do you mean to tell me that I can literally run into the sky from my front yard? Is it really possible to sit in the sky with nothing but six thousand feet (or more) of air and clouds below my dangling feet? Can I really soar with the birds? Could it be that sunsets can be even more beautiful from high above the bluffs? Yes, yes, yes, and yes!
As I was doing research in preparation for liftoff, I decided I would just get a wing and start practicing. Let me tell you, that maybe wasn’t really the best choice. But I found someone willing to sell me their old wing. It was a giant and dated but heartbeat increasingly awesome and boy, was I excited! The seller met me at Kwik Trip, pulled the wing high into the air and I was jaw-dropping hooked!
The next few months were quite a journey of literal ups and downs. I first experimented with different wind speeds, slowly pulling the wing up into a breeze that pulled me skidding across the field. More than once, I was flipped end over end and dragged through the dust and dirt because of a wind gust that I didn’t know how to handle. However, the first time I lifted off the ground, soaring down the hill, I thought, “So this is what Orville and Wilbur were all excited about!” (Only to then crash at the bottom of the hill.)
For all the great and exciting learning it was to be blown around and dragged through the fields, it was a much better choice to get an instructor to guide me through the tantrums of the wind and controls of the wing.
Much to my confusion, I have found out that not everyone dreams of flying. It could be that there are other dreams that need small steps to get you to where you want to be.
What’s your next step? Prepare for liftoff!
Meet your farmer – Jonathan Gerdes. He and his wife run a farm-to-table raw milk dairy in Caledonia, Minn. If he isn’t in the barn, you can find him dating his wife, playing with his kids, leading youth group, or flying in the sky. Visit gerdesfreshfarm.com for more info.