matt pond PA

May 5, 2019


In the heart of spring earthworms writhe on steamy streets through white and pink fallen blossoms, primitive confetti announcing noiseless parades, birds sing and swoop, small-town wolves stretch and posture, the gentle chaos highlighted by Saturday morning drivers who use traffic signals as mere suggestions, gliding past the glaring red.

Beneath the slow blue curve overhead, there are people flying above Kingston, New York. They largely remain inconspicuous, dressed in slate and and navy, sweatshirts and jeans, humbly blending in with heaven.

Nobody below notices. They don’t see or they don’t want to see.

Most people found out they could fly while cleaning their gutters or falling from the top bunk. The forest ranger who chased a raccoon off the top of Kaaterskill Falls and laughed all the way down to the Hudson. A headlong, middair acceptance of fate. The trusting innocence of a bad trip, transformed.

In winter, icicles spread quickly on outstretched arms, too heavy and stiff to soar. Summer heat burns right through light cotton. Most people prefer to keep their nude red moments to themselves. The autumn weekenders invariably throw rocks at anything blocking their photographs of the foliage.

But in spring, human shapes escape their frigid incarceration. The ice lets go and after the last slush seeps into the ground, those who can fly let loose in the sky. Sometimes, the celebratory raindrops are mixed with wine, sometimes a light drizzle of dry gin.

It’s not entirely perfect. Every few years, someone gets strung up in the power lines. Or minced beneath a windmill. Still, what a way to go!

Last year, a sophomore from Wallkill staged a show-and-tell interpretation of the Icarus myth. In perfect form, he flew so high he passed out and shot down like a limp rock, splattering across the blacktop. The whole tenth grade gasped and simultaneously whispered, “Epic.”

From below, barely anyone notices. They don’t see or they don’t want to see. The flight brings fits of fear and envy. It is the work of wizards, it is the primordial beacon that another being has more. The heavy weights and gears of civilization that drive us down and further apart.

I am mowing my lawn with headphones on. Aloft, a young couple serpentines through the tops of contorted pines, through the dead spots where the woodpeckers knock. They are scowling, silently arguing, flipping on their backs, making figure eights and sailor knots with their limbs.

Above, below. Those of us who are affixed to the earth are capable of weaving anxiety and hope into small, talismanic figurines — vague impressions with resolute souls. Behind closed eyes, faceless and capable of thinking anything.