I am Superwoman, with an umbrella no less. . .
I think by now you are beginning to understand that I was a tomboy and a daredevil all wrapped up into one. I was always on the cutting edge of, well usually getting cut or something equally harrowing.
Like when I was about 8 or 9 and a bunch of us kids were playing doctor. It was my idea to use real needles! The neighborhood parents frowned on that one, couldn’t really see why myself…
Or when I got the idea to ride my wagon down the slide on my swing set. Wow, it was cool, but I had to admit that the landing was a little rough.
I particularly liked heights, so if there was something to climb, a tree or a house, you name it, I climbed it. The backstop at the baseball diamond was a favorite. Do you know how far you can see from the top of one of those puppies? Far, let me tell you.
It stands to reason that if I liked heights, I would be fascinated by anything or anyone who could fly. I never missed the adventures of Superman; I lived for those exciting moments when he would stop being wimpy Clark Kent and would don his superman cape and hit the skies! Lots of kids really liked Batman, but he couldn’t fly, so he really didn’t fascinate me at all. I mean, how many times can you ooh and aah over the batmobile?
Oh, how I wanted to fly with Superman. I could just imagine it, zooming around everywhere; racing birds and planes, no one would be able to stop me. I could look down on the trees and on the mountains. I would daydream for hours about how my house would look from the sky, or my school.
So I became fascinated with how to make it happen. In school we studied Icarus and Daedalus and the myth soon became an obsession. I read and re-read the story of how Daedalus built the labyrinth in Mino’s for the Minotaur and then needed to escape so he built wings for himself and his son Icarus. He crafted them of feathers and wax and he told Icarus never to fly too close to the sun for they would melt or too near the sea because they would absorb the water and become too heavy. In the end, the wings worked and they escaped. But Icarus didn’t heed his father’s words and flew too close to the sun God, Helios and the wings melted and Icarus plunged to his death into the ocean.
Well, it had worked I told myself with all the logic of a ten year old. But where do you get enough feathers and wax I wondered. My mom wasn’t in the slightest bit helpful about it and I do remember threats about a sore behind if I tried something so silly. But I still wanted to fly.
And then I remembered Mary Poppins. She used an umbrella didn’t she - and that worked too! I didn’t need anything special for that, didn’t I have my own Monkee umbrella already?
They were building a new house down the street which was pretty high up and had the advantage of having a huge pile of sand below it. I eyed that set up for several days, wondering if it would work. I had some doubts, I mean, Mary was magic or something wasn’t she and I sure wasn’t. But it was too tempting.
So one evening after dinner I took that umbrella over to that half-built house in preparation to fly. There was a lot of controversy amongst the neighborhood kids about whether or not it was going to work. Both sides of the debate had ample and vocal supporters. A few of them even decided to bring their umbrellas along to try it too.
We stood up on top of the roof peak and opened our umbrellas in preparation to fly. Excitement was literally coursing through my body as we waited for just the perfect moment; that moment being while no ones parents were watching or driving by!
And then it was clear, so one, two, three and off we jumped. And down we fell, into the reasonably soft sand. Live and learn. I wrecked a perfectly good Monkee umbrella that day. But I didn’t dent my spirit a bit.
Years later when I was 19 I had a chance to jump off a mountain in Colorado. Of course this time I had a big kite attached to me. It seemed cool, not quite like Supermans' cape or Daedalus’ wings, but not bad either.
We jumped off that mountain and the wind caught the kites and we were lifted up, up and away over that valley far below us. The city of Boulder only a tiny spot to the east, we rode the drafts and I cried.
I was finally flying; not with the speed of Superman or the style of Daedalus, but on my own. The world was beautiful from up there.
God does wonderful work.