My dad amazed me the first time he made a paper airplane and sailed it across the room. I couldn’t wait to make my own and experiment with wing size and fins. With a little effort and folding technology, much pleasure ensues in a wide or tall room. Outside, the issue becomes finding the breeze that doesn’t grab the plane and nosedive it into the ground without a nice ride first.
Then came the fascination with fish gliding back and forth in the bowl. The movements looked serene and definite, as if full of reflection. From fish, it was on to birds and planes in the sky. The higher they are, the more silent and mysterious they appear.
Learning has its gliding aspect though it can take longer with a more complicated subject to get into the gliding. An old mentor who used to like talking about spontaneity often said, “What you take, takes you.” He would use learning a language as an example. At first, a sense of self-consciousness is predominant and the sense of detail and tedium. The unfamiliar and awkward feelings can bring the eruption, “Will I ever get this?”
Perseverance has its magic moment. At an unpredicted moment, the gliding starts. What we took, takes us. How did it happen? Brain science can say, but experience still marvels at dis-ease becoming ease.
Watching others glide when we’re not gliding provokes feelings ranging from envy to new determination to emulate them. “Can I glide?” Why sure, don’t hold back.
There was the simple looking shop and the long runway still green and open all around where the two brothers failed an inordinate number of times before theory and practice merged into the gasps of eureka over that first sustained flight that wouldn’t quite make three football fields today.
We’re made to want to glide. It’s the fascination we have with the spontaneous and effortless movement in a desired medium. I’ve thought about what ignites the quest. Yes, I’ve thought about it a lot.
- The Learning Network Blog: Gliding High: Designing Paper Airplanes Based on the Physics of Flight (learning.blogs.nytimes.com)
- The power of thinking (learningfromdogs.com)