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Soaring By Gayla Mills
om told me I’m four dimensional. There are three axes, she explained when I was a mere tweet, but we float on the fourth. I liked the idea of floating, especially when I was snuggled close to her and my sibs, warm. Then one day I felt ready, confident and eager. I spread my arms, stretched, and I was off, traversing the fourth dimension on the southeastern wind current that alternated between 40 and 60 degrees in slope. Whoo, it picked me up higher and I found myself flushed with boundless nowness. The earthly things dropped as the scents, colors, richness of the air drew me forward. Effortlessly, I closed my eyes for a moment so I could better sense the pieces of molecules of particles of world that pressed in around me, as I rushed through them, floating, soaring. So this was the fourth dimension she had spoken of. Feeling giddy with its newness, I abruptly flipped my feathers and headed straight down toward the trees. I could feel the tips roughed up by the air as I used one force against another to plunge swiftly. Then feeling mischievous, I robbed gravity of its reward and turned 37
degrees on the western axis, 110 on the northern, and 52 on the fourth. With what I must say was an elegant reversal, I drew up to the scented branch covered with soft spines and grabbed hold. Not bad for a first run, I thought. Unable to bear my new existence silently, I felt my full throat. I let loose, crying out in the gleenal scale that I had heard in late evening. This, of course, is the scale reserved for intense feeling, and it seemed fitting. I was pleased to be joined by my clitchmates, who responded with the sleelie scale of pride. They had witnessed my journey in the fourth dimension and celebrated it with me. I knew with a certainty born from my success that the possibilities to soar would always be. I wrote my first draft of this piece while teaching a freshman composition class. The theme that year was the human/animal divide, and I asked them to write a story from the perspective of an animal. I always write and read aloud with the class to model the process for them. The version I sent you was similar to the original, with chopping and polishing. I didn't pin it down to a particular bird until I sent it to you--I simply imagined a small bird new to flying and tried to capture a different sensory perspective with some new vocabulary.
Formerly a writing professor, Gayla Mills now publishes personal essays, flash fiction, and occasional tweets at sixwordwriter. Her essays have appeared in Spry, Prairie Wolf Press, Skirt!, The Truth about the Fact, Greenwoman, and more. Gayla’s chapbook of personal essays, Finite, won the RED OCHRE LiT Chapbook contest. She has a long-life interest in the inner lives of animals. Perspectives ~ September 2017 ~ 20
A magazine that shows what it's like to live in the shoes of inanimate objects and animals!