Learning to Fly
When I was young my family often went to Lake Michigan with its long golden beaches on vacation. One of my greatest joys was sitting alone on the beach watching the seagulls. They all seemed to have their own personalities. Some sat in the sun waiting for the people to feed them while others were up in the sky flying, even doing aerobatics! When I read Jonathon Livingston Seagull the first time, I really identified the gulls I was watching with the ones in the story. Some seemed much like people I knew!
Later in my life an emotional event happened that brought me to a point where I had to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I had a long-time dream of living in the Rocky Mountains but on the other hand I was very comfortable where I was living and it would have been easy for me to go back and teach kindergarten again (which had been a dream of mine since third grade and which I had done previously). While I was deciding what to do, my wonderful brother-in-law stepped in to remind me about Jonathan and to tell me that if I didn't follow my dream at that point I probably never would! So I moved to the mountains.
I was happy while I was there, but after living there for seven years another emotional event again brought me the opportunity to choose what I was going to do with my life at that point. I hadn't been able to find a teaching job and really missed that. I also discovered that I missed being near the water though I had found a lake in the mountains of Colorado that had a few seagulls! While reading Jonathan again, I realized that I strongly identified with the character of Fletcher. Someone had taught me how to fly and what I really wanted to do was to teach others to fly.
A friend who lived near the ocean in northern California invited me to come for a visit. My friend took me out to the seashore to visit what he called all the "Jonathans" and I felt like I was home! After seeing several ads for preschool teachers in the paper and how beautiful it was here, I decided to move and easily found a place to be the kind of teacher I wanted to be working with young children and teaching them how to "fly"! That was over twenty years ago and I'm still teaching. I still really like Fletcher!
Both Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions have been important parts of my life. I've read both many times but read Jonathan the most -- too many times for me to remember how many. Sometimes I just open one of the books up and start reading whatever page I land on. I've read them just for fun and sometimes for help. Both books feel like very close friends.