When I was a little girl with long braids and skinny legs (seems a long time ago!), I had a french girl friend who was called Sylvie. She lived in a large house on a corner street. It seemed huge to me then and maybe it was. Many balconies, large terraces and a grand attic, hot as could be under the Caribbean sun and full of what we imagined attics can hide. Old gowns with faded fraying fabrics, antique furniture, books and ancient porcelain dolls. We climbed there through a dark, airless passageway both suffocating and tantalizing. We held our breath until we burst through the door of the attic and could breathe again. Revived, we could explore.
But downstairs the place was actually a guest house with mostly french people and Sylvie's aunt who was an artist and quite lovely. She was an ex-beauty queen and looked it. The whole place was a receptor of my dreams and imagination. I had huge powers then along with my friend. We sometimes took a look of offense and told Sylvie's little cousin "we will turn you into a frog." Young enough to believe us, she would cast on us a look of horror and disappear from our sight. We were the fairies and believed in this temporary incarnation.
Often we climbed up a very large old Banyan tree between old branches, leaves and green lizards and high, unseen to the passers by; we watched. People strolled by, people talked and behaved as most humans do on the ground. We observed and laughed sometimes but mostly looked.
This gave me a bird's eye view over the behavior of other humans. The detachment of being above them and watching. I find that this habit is sometimes most necessary if I want to detach myself from the mundane and see a situation with new eyes and spirit. The ability to rise above and see things for what they are and not as they seem when we are involved with them. Often as I sit with a group of people I imagine myself flying above and listening with the detachment of an observer looking at the scene under me.
It is not always easy. Sometimes I am too involved to do this. But as I get ready to go to sleep, quietly laying down on my bed, I replay the situation in my head and realize that I am creating the distance necessary to see what was hidden to me by my own emotions.
I imagine myself in the tree again up high and seeing what was needed to be revealed. In a way growing older is like flying above and having a long and amazing perspective over our life. The way we acted, the way we did things then, the way we did not like something, the way we created, the way we loved and the way we used our imagination. Mistakes we made, also things we learned. Life becomes an evaluation as the years accumulate. We, at this point, not surprisingly, reach and do our best. Often not always. So many artist and musicians reached their peak when older and their mastery over a medium only echoes the spiritual attainments of their soul.
So flying is not only for the birds. We can fly in our mind and look down, or look over life and turn on the beautiful capacity to evaluate and discover. Our older years are sometimes our better years having learned so much from how we have lived. It is true that they often come with aches and disease, but also how much we have learned and how well we can still perform in our fields!!
Copyright Micheline Brierre April 2014