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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Flying Off To My Peaceful Place

A couple of decades ago, friends and I went to the Missouri State Fair which has been held in Sedalia, Missouri since 1901. In the evening, in a dark corner of the fair, I noticed a rinky-dink little ride that looked about a hundred years old but electricity became common in the United States in the 1930’s so it was probably only a half-century old. It was a handmade spinning wooden wheel with a dozen small platforms for riders to lie flat, belly down, and be spun around. The wooden boards were hand-welded onto a bent framework of metal tubing, and my first impression was that someone should report it to whatever agency regulates carnival rides, because as the faded wheel of the ride spun up to about eight feet parallel to the ground, it wobbled and dipped precariously. As I was turning away with disapproval, I noticed the expressions of the riders, they were enraptured. So I threw caution to the winds, handed over a couple of dollars, and let the attendant strap me belly down onto the flat, worn wood, little platform that would hold my body in position. When I asked what to do with my arms, he said it was my choice. I tucked them against my sides. With cranking sounds and ominous jolts the ride began to spin and lift. My board tilted up and the wind flowed over my face and my body soared. The moon shone enticingly overhead, stars twinkled. I stretched my arms out into the wind. I realized the joy of birds in flight, how exquisite the sensation of gliding through air was, what a delight it was to fly up into the night glow of the sky. It ended too soon. I whispered to the attendant before he could unbuckle me, “Again, I have to go up again! I’ll pay you later!” He just nodded, he had heard that eagerness for his carnival ride many times before. The second ride was as good as the first, I could have flown like a bird for hours. When I staggered deliriously happy off of the ride I tried to pay but the attendant waved it away. The second joy was his treat.

I have a “peaceful place” in my mind, where I soar around whenever I want to relax somewhere quiet, to experience a gentle state of mind, to meditate. It is a verdant north woods forest filled with shy woodland creatures and sheltered by a vast, strong, horseshoe-shaped cliff so tall that the cliff goes blue against the sky. After that carnival ride I go to my peaceful place with a real sensation of flying.

Caption: Flying Off To My Peaceful Place

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018

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