From reading to dreaming

When I was 8 or 9 years old I read a book about a freshly minted young pilot, who was asked by an old friend of his family – a pilot himself, working in Alaska – if he would like to help him for one year with his business and if so, could he fly a new Cessna 170 from the factory up to Fairbanks.
The answer was yes, of course, and the book describes the trip up North and tells the story of an Arctic bush pilot – and that’s also the title of the book. (In German it’s called “Cessna 170 – landen!” something like “Cessna 170, cleared to land”)


I totally lost myself in that book and began to dream about bears and wolves, about fishing in high mountain lakes and hunting elk.
But one dream came back again and again: the one about me flying a little Cessna, trying to find Alaska. Everyday I would fly around – somewhere up North – looking for a particular lake, for animal tracks in the snow. I would land on the sandbanks of a river, on a hill top, some days close to a village where I asked the locals how to get to Alaska. Every once in a while I would get back to a place where I had been before, ask again, and this time people would point me in a different direction. I didn’t mind that, because all I wanted was to fly this little plane forever.
I must have dreamt that dream like ten times, seen different mountians, met different people, but I was always flying that red and white Cessna.

If dreams come in two varieties, then this “flying the red and white Cessna”-dream belongs to category #1.
It’s that sort of dream which pops up while we’re asleep. It’s the movie we (are forced to) watch during the night, sometimes we even act in it, and often we have forgotten all about it when we wake up the next morning.
Category 2 would be the day-dream kind, a phantasy or a strong, often outrageous desire that almost always appears to be unsatisfiable.
And that’s the type of dream my movie-during-the-night version turned into once it got together with my passion for flying: a burning desire, for which I didn’t see any chance of realization.
And that, I guess, was why my dream went to sleep, so to speak: it didn’t see a chance to become alive, real. It hadn’t given up altogether, though, trusting that my passion would work in his favor, it just waited for the right moment, his moment, to wake up.