Gay Yellen: Flying Dreams

Have you ever had a dream that returns again and again?

When I was a child, I had quite a few. Most of them were scary. In one, I was repeatedly shot by a mean-looking gangster. In another, a gorilla chased me down the street, getting closer and closer as I ran for my life. And then there was my worst high school nightmare, in which a report that was due for my next class was inside my locker, and I could not remember the combination to get it open.

Each dream startled me awake. I would bolt upright in bed, my heart racing. 

But one recurring dream from my elementary school years was a repeated delight,

because in that dream, I could fly.

My partner in the unforgettable adventure was my Aunt Dora.
We would hold hands and soar, light as air, over my school and the neighborhood below.
I entered this lovely dream more than once, and I wish I still could.
Those were the years when I was reading Mary Poppins books. I adored that magical flying governess and envied the lucky Banks children, because among performing other wonders, Mary let them fly with her.
Like Mary Poppins, Aunt Dora was a keen observer of people. When she expressed an opinion, it was almost always witty and to the point, which may be why my young dreaming brain chose her to be the flying nanny’s avatar.

In my twenties, when I had a little bit of spendable income and an apartment with empty walls to fill, I purchased an engraving by Graciela Rodo Boulanger. The moment I saw it, I had to have it, because it felt so similar to what I remembered of my long-lost dream.

The artwork still reminds me of the times when I could fly above the town with Aunt Dora. And though I’ve never consciously emulated her, I can sometimes feel her speaking through me, coloring a line of dialogue I’ve written with her gently barbed humor.

Perhaps, like Mary Poppins, she had a touch of magic, too.

What about you—have you ever dreamed you could fly? Please comment below.

Gay Yellen is the award-winning author of The Samantha Newman Mystery Series.

11 replies
  1. Beverly
    Beverly says:

    Gay, such a lively story. I will share this with my daughter Emma Dora, named after my often present muse too, Grandma Dora. Hugs!

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      Beverly, I'm so happy that you found this and can share it with Emma Dora. Maybe she'll dream she can fly, too!

  2. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Gay, love this post. Dreams are such an interesting topic, especially dream analysis. The dream about you not being able to remember your locker combination with a project due is typical of people being stressed. I continually have those dreams although I've been out of college and high school for at least 2 years 😉 Ha ha. Love the flying dream with your Aunt Dora. I have not had a flying dream to my knowledge. I have two that are repetitions. One I have a swimming pool (never had one in real life) and it's full of algae, and I have company coming and I haven't had time to clean it, and everybody jumps into tha slimy pool. Then the house with hidden rooms. In my dreams it's my home but I enter rooms I never knew were there. our subconscious is fascinating IMO.

  3. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    I agree, Donnell. Dreams are fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing yours. I'll bet we could spend hours talking (or writing) about them.

  4. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    My heart is full, reading this post, and I'll bet you know why! I also have been inspired by recurring dreams and the connections they give us with people we hold dear.

  5. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Interesting post. I've always been fascinated at what our specific dreams reflect. Donnell's comment about stress is relatable. I think most of my dreams today probably have that element, but my young dreams tended to be stories….or serial dramas that picked up so that they could continue on.

  6. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    Sounds like you were a writer way back then, Debra. Stories to write about! Maybe in one of our group posts we can each share one dream with our readers.

  7. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    I love flying dreams – they are fun and liberating! As a child, teenager, and young adult I also had terrifying recurring nightmares. It was only after I conquered my nightmares that I experienced a flying dream. Thanks for posting such an interesting blog.

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