Water. Earth. Sky. On this platform, I forget for a moment the hulk looming above me and all my dreams tethered to it like the lines which anchor it to this huge wooden raft. Like it, my hopes strain to take flight, free and unfettered on an unbounded voyage of discovery. But, bouffant clouds heaped miles high float serenely across the fathomless blue of lake and sky. My heart plunges into the depths to soar. In the glinting sun, an egret of brilliant white skims across the glassy surface of the water, matched by its twin, until the two become one and the mirror shatters.
The breeze freshens. The platform bobs on the lake. The lines snap and pop. The hurried plunk of boots on the wooden planks and the urgent voices of my men draw me back to my dreams, my life’s work and my fortune. Calm as the day, I pace the length of my creation, testing its strength, the joints of gleaming metal, the seams of taut canvas, the vents and valves and gauges—the mechanics necessary for man to take flight. All is ready. The plan is perfect, its execution flawless. This will work.
I clamber into the front basket and signal to the men. They loose the lines and my heart. It leaps into my throat. The ground shifts beneath my feet. My breath catches. Silent as an egret, gleaming in the sun, my creation lifts from the water, snatches the breeze and I soar.