Sunday, February 5, 2012

Leonardo's Flying Machine

"The great bird will take flight above the ridge...filling the universe with awe, filling all writings with its fame..."
- Leonardo on manned flight

On Leonardo's rooftop I can see his flying machine ready to take off. But, how do I get up there? I close my eyes and suddenly I'm there! I climb in and swing my feet back and forth beneath the sprawl of enormous bat wings. My hands grasp the steering mechanism and I wonder where to go. I'd like to go far, very far into the stars. How do I measure the wind pressure or navigate my direction? Does it matter? I'll just let the wind carry me and keep my eyes open to avoid bumping into clouds or a migrating flock of birds. A strong wind comes up and in a sudden SWOOSH! I'm airborne and flying high above tree tops over farmlands and miniature houses. I feel free but its not as glamorous as it seems. I have my work cut out for me!  Warships float past and the nine-hundred forms of perfection Leonardo drew for Ludovico's horse. They gallop and curl kicking up hooves in a thousand different directions. I dodge and weave trying to maneuver the giant bat wings spreading out above me. After awhile the flight levels out and I reach out touching the pink clouds. I prefer Leonardo's flying machine to the Battle of Anghiari, forever peeling in some museum or the unfinished Last Supper suspended high above whispers of controversy in Santa Maria delle Grazie. I like to take wing, to levitate the spirit, to meet the mystics!