Learning to be comfortable in the air

chez Goldroot


What if birds were afraid of heights?

Looking out our kitchen windows on a sunny morning at the top of the tallest tree on the hill behind us I could see a bird perched on the tip-of-the-tip-of-the topmost branch. The tree swayed gently in the light breeze. The bird looked to one side, seeming to defy gravity. There was no sign of weight on the sprig where it perched. The bird was carefree, confident. He didn’t seem worried that the branch could bend with a gust of wind, that he could tumble unceremoniously down, to be quickly surrounded by neighborhood cats ready to pounce. Plus, he was really high up there. He’s a bird, so I guess that stuff doesn’t bother him. Should he be disturbed in any way, I am certain he would simply fly.

That’s when my fifty-year-old brain suddenly goes from pastoral wondering to randomly curious – what…

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Like Flying…


I’m reading the book by Phillippe Pozzo di Borgo – “A Second Wind”. This is the memoir that was the basis of the excellent French film “Les Intouchables” starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy.

The movie begins when Phillippe encounters “Driss” the immigrant who becomes his caretaker and source of motivation for living. In the book we learn more about what happened to Phillippe and how he became a quadriplegic. It was after a paragliding accident. He describes in great deal what it felt like to paraglide. What it felt like to really fly.


It reminded me of the day I hiked up Puy de Dome by myself. A very small feat in comparison to Pozzo’s multiple marathons and paragliding flights. But for me a solo traveling accomplishment – I was determined to go there, found a place to stay, drove myself across the countryside, and then hauled my butt up a mountain with water and a couple of cameras and no one around for miles who knew me or knew who I was or where I was.  My reward at the top, besides the amazing view was the paragliding sorties taking place, and the wonderful sound of the “wings” as Phillipe called them, as they soared by.