I put on my flight suit, helmet, and gloves. I watch the clouds and birds as they fly past. I look up at the smoke from the chimney to check the wind, but I also track how gusts of wind move branches with leaves and grasses in the meadows. I enjoy the sunshine on my face. I concentrate more and more.

I choose the moment to take off, take a deep breath and – take off. I pull my wings over my head, add gas and run as hard as I can, being careful not to stumble and to stay on course for the wind. At one point, I break away from the ground. I am flooded with joy.

Flying, I feel space with my whole body. All my senses are involved in perceiving it. I feel the touch of the wind on my face, smell the frost, see the shape of clouds casting shadows. This sounds rather static, but it’s not.

Clouds don’t just travel with the wind. Sucking in turbulent air from below, they swell or blur under the action of falling cold air masses. The light, the arrangement of observed forms and shapes changes.

The engine vibrates, the rotation of the propeller causes vibrations. Noise surrounds me. I do not cut myself off from these inconveniences, but allow them to pass through me. When the sound changes even for a moment, I notice it. It contains information that is important to me.

The whole system is jittery, and in a sense these are my vibrations as well. I am fused to the machine, and the paraglider wing and the ropes connecting me to it make me touch, almost lean against the air, just as a gliding bird touches the air with the feather of its aileron. Of course, this is an illusion, I only think so, I have learned to read these messages.

I fly ahead, overpowered by the scale of the clouds, the boundlessness of the landscape. I feel like a wind-borne feather subjected to the power of nature. And yet it seems to me that I have influence over the course of the flight, because I hold the rudder of the motor-paraglider and the throttle handle in my hand.

And sometimes this state is not so serene. For example, when suddenly the sound of the engine changes. Something starts buzzing different than usual. I think it’s a loose ring on the connecting rod. I should land and usually I do, the pleasure and experience of harmony ends.

Yet the landscape is so tempting, enticing, mesmerising. The
conditions are beautiful, I convince myself that the engine will hold.

From a position of mind, I force my body to obey. I spell reality, my heart rate accelerates. Pushed out of consciousness, fear does not disappear. Enchanted by prayers or the power of affirmations, it moves into the subconscious. I cross the boundary of rationality and
continue my flight.

I move to another dimension, I see creatures, emanations of fear and
trepidation, personified evil that lurks somewhere beneath the surface of the ice. My consciousness, seeing the world becomes broadband, I feel the world in high definition. I don’t want to return to earth. I have become the Lord of the Ring, or the ring took control over me?

From deep down, from some deeper layer of consciousness I hear a voice – embrace yourself, come back, you are not a bird or other winged creature. You only think you are one. After all, the ring didn’t disappear. It’s a mechanical part that will fall apart in a moment.

Flight is not just a physical experience, but a real experience of the here and now.

During it, something happens to consciousness. It is impossible from a distance of time, under safe conditions on the ground, to reconstruct the course of what happens up there.

Perhaps this is what abstraction is all about. In the reality of the world around me I perceive emanations of thoughts, feelings, concepts, impressions. Impressions that, after all, I cannot note down in writing. They are recorded in the photographic image that is then created. This I know for sure. This is a paradox, because the image itself is a very real slice of reality, a fragment of the landscape, which is what it is. I wonder if adding a description from a distance to a photo created in this way can be real?

From the perspective of the ground, my experience as I flew over the
horizon into darkness, fog, wind, frost, snow may seems crazy. On the other hand, following my intuition, I felt magnificent, full of life, tested, carrying the unknown to the world. Up there I was provoking fate, but accompanied by a belief in supernatural powers. I was a bird, a moth, a dragon, and I was surrounded by an angelic aura. How could anything bad happen? After all, since the dawn of time, this is how people have gone through their trials.

100 years ago Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said:

“I fly because it frees my mind from the tyranny of petty matters.”

My paraphrase is:

“I fly because it frees me from the tyranny of the mind.”