Dreams of flying

“I’ve always dreamed of flying,” said the woman with a big grin.

When I wrote Up There about a woman born with the gift of flight, I never expected so many people would relate to her desire to walk in the air. But it seems she is far from alone.

I asked the woman, “When you dreamed of flying, where did you go?”

She said immediately, “I flew over the playground, high above my friends and the teachers.”

For inventors such as the Wright Brothers and Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian aeronaut who demonstrated a practical aeroplane before the Wrights, flying was all about the machines. But others of us aren’t interested in going fast. We want to go up.

My nine-year-old granddaughter loves Mary Poppins. In the 1964 film, Julie Andrews clutches an umbrella as she floats down from the sky to help another family troubled by disorderly children and disinterested parents. The magical English nanny appeared first in 1934 in a series of eight children’s books written by Australian-British writer P.L. Travers. And Mary continues to captivate us today.

Why do we yearn for the skies?

Dreams of flying are common, according to Practical Psychology. They symbolize liberation, breaking free from limitations, and the journey toward self-discovery. In many spiritual traditions, flying is associated with transcendence.

I could relate and so could my book. Up There is a story of self-discovery, of coming to grips with who we really are. And at the time I wrote it, during lockdown, I was certainly ready to transcend the constraints of the pandemic. I wanted to step into the fresh air and not worry about how long the toilet paper supply would last or where my mask was. I think we were all eager to lift ourselves up above the struggles of that time.

Walking in the air is magical, and couldn’t we all use a little magic sometimes, especially in challenging times? So keep dreaming of flying and forget about the toilet paper.


I think “Walking in the Air” by Howard Blake expresses how my character, Ariel Lee, feels when she flies in Up There. This version is sung by the Libera boys choir. Take a moment to enjoy the video below.