On the wall of my office hangs a piece of construction paper on which is written in the wriggly letters of a child, “but I can’t walk on air.” That statement is playfully subverted by the placement of the words, which drift upwards until air nearly floats off the top edge.
Similarly, the poet Seamus Heaney gave himself (and everyone else who was listening) the following droll advice in his Noble Prize lecture: “Walk on air against your better judgement.”
Both the child and Heaney reaffirmed the ancient Greek idea that improbability is not the same as impossibility. Which brings me to my own writing. How can I dare to write about science, faith, and art in a way that has integrity, melding their specialized vocabularies into new insights? How can I cross or transgress boundaries between realms? Yet when I do so (against my better judgement), it happens: I walk on air. Flying through air can be aerodynamically explained. Walking on air can’t: one foot at a time, wings unnecessary, the landing as gentle as the fall of a leaf.
Kathleen L. Housley
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