License to Fly…


Recently, on a business trip, as I was driving a portion of my team back to the hotel after a long day of meetings, one of my colleagues began to recite a beautiful poem by John Gillepsie Magee Jr. Gillespie was an aviator in the second world war and a fellow Canadian and sadly never made it home to see his famous poem fly:

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

He completed it with perfect clarity and cadence and the rest of us within the confines of the little Rav4 took a deep breath in and felt nothing less than humbled. Like somehow, this piece of literature, so different from the code that we had stared at all week, had made our steps lighter, our hearts more inspired. This is the power of the arts and why they are such a powerful force – and why they need to be nurtured and nourished in every child and adult alike. They are transforming. Creativity offers both inspiration and insight and is a founding tenet of a life well-lived!

I was so inspired by this recital, that I had to respond with my own poetic license:

When I rehearse that poem
The one that poured out of your soul as though you had just put pen to paper
magic to page
memorized for every accent, every sonata, depicted so carelessly, breathlessly
weaving folklore onto the page
Of rockets ships and air travels and dreams and the like, and all those things that soar together
And I remembered a time when that passion cursed through me like a fire-laden spear of things-to-come
And I thought, please, remember these words, these lyrics, these notes that pass from us, one to another
at times, as though no-one else was listening, yet, at the same time, as though, all the world held their ears to the walls.
Inspecting each syllable for what it was.
Magic on lips. Sharing the peace of the earth, humanity toward each other. Humanity toward these words that we so often take for granted.
These words that were meant to be shared, if only for the breaking of the bread, the substance lost in each other’s interpretation.
Each bite something to savor without anything ever being ingested. Absorbed.
Ah yes, the roads converging.And that too, has made the difference. ~ KO

I borrowed on a Robert Frost theme from The Road Not Taken.
While going one’s own way is important, the converging ideas of the collective work – the team, the group, the tribe, the circle, the family – is every bit as important as being your own horse and marching to your own drummer. It’s the Yin and Yang… the community, the love, that is the essence of it all.

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