The world as I see it, can be wondrous at times, and full of traffic jams at others. One such glorious day when the clouds were scudding and meandering in turns with the weight of moisture, I sat gloomily in the car, wanting more than ever to join the clouds above. The signals had all been acting up and I waited as cars patiently stopped and proceeded at a pace that is entirely unsuited for modern life. There were at least ‘n’ slack messages, ‘m’ voicemails and the gods-knew how many emails that had come up in that time for all the inhabitants in their little cars during this time. I mused, and let out a satisfied laugh that this is life. It is meant to have ponderous moments of quiet.
I have often wondered about the ways in which we choose to traverse physical spaces and ensure our presence. In the magical world of Harry Potter, people apparate and disapparate, materialize with floo powder out of chimneys, fly on broom sticks, charm motorcycles and cars to fly, send messages via owls, patronus charms and so much more. The world of science fiction loves wormholes and time tesseracts. Any solutions that don’t come up with the limitations of the speed of light, against the physical ache of distances to traverse.
While we we may be faster that we ever were before, the human imagination is still active and thriving to do more. The stars and galaxies await, do they not? The next thrilling step in our glorious adventures forward?
In our world, I looked around, what problems would arise if we were all to lift off into the air. The same as it would be on the roads for sure, if thousands of cars took to the air at the same time. Not to mention the hovering charms required to keep them hovering in mid-air traffic signals. A little dragonfly is capable of such magnificence! Feats as hovering that we find ourselves thinking about obsessively.
The idle mind harked back to the section on how birds evolved for hovering in the Flights of Fancy book by Richard Dawkins. Size being against them, they still managed a variety of ways in which to achieve it – whether it was in the way their wings spread out to absorb the thrust from the winds, or reverse flapping to counter the surge of propulsion, it was obviously one of the evolutionary hacks that spurred life on earth (birds as nectar seekers and life spreaders).
“Forward propulsion by wings is achieved by a kind of rowing through the air. Hummingbirds go to the extreme of a rapidly buzzing (humming), sculling movement, in which the wing is turned almost upside down during the upstroke. The wing works almost as efficiently on the upstroke as the downstroke, and it enables hummingbirds to hover like a helicopter and fly backwards, sideways and even occasionally upside down. Hovering was an important evolutionary discovery for birds. Previously, insects had a monopoly in nectar because they could perch on flowers. Birds were too heavy until they finally invented hovering.”
A couple of days later, as we went walking around the green hills with the waxing moon on one side, the setting sun on the other, lupines, golden poppies and cranes glowing in this unique combination of light and moisture in the air, I found a hawk hovering. I stood mesmerized by all things light and wonderful. The shadows cast by the hovering bird, the winds changing speed, and the birds’s intuitive adjustment to its environmental influxes.
‘Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.’ – Carl Sagan
A low rumbling in the distance indicated a flight coming into land at a nearby airport, and the spell was broken. I did not want to apparate out- I wanted to amble back towards reality.