I dared to dream the dreams of Icaras and Daedalus. The folly of youth and the brilliance of the times ordained us as Gods. To soar on warm summer winds and caress the heavens; to seek out the face of the almighty; this was our anointed task. To this end, we became relentless in our studies. The hours spent observing the hawk and falcon; grace and speedy death. We studied the master. The great Leonardo. I was enraptured by his works. I sought to build on this brilliance. And through diligence and intense scrutiny to the smallest detail, I was utterly convinced of my success where all else had failed.
July had been kind to the farmers in allowing the crops to grow in wondrous abandon. On that day, as I climbed the tower, the burden of my contraption weighing heavy on my shoulders, my exuberation lifting me unworldly plains, I gazed upward. Higher and higher still. I must touch the clouds, for only in touching them, will they receive me and give me their benediction.
Higher still, till at once I stood at the precipice. My gaze drifted downward and dizziness overtook me. I steadied myself against the braces of willow and oak that formed this fortress that reached high into the heavens and braced myself against the rush of a hot July wind. Below me, farmers tilled the fields of lavender, blue and mauve; unknown crops tilled in unknown fields by unknown farmers, unaware of what was about to transpire high above them.
My exhilaration knew no bounds as I quickly attached the straps and moved toward the edge. In me, the dreams of Icarus, Daedalus and Leonardo would come to fruition. I fell forward and felt the pull of the wind beneath my wings and I soared! Tears flooded my eyes as the beauty overtook my senses and I became one with the summer sky; as surely as the majestic eagle. Downward I soared. In my vanity, as Icaras had tried to soar to high to touch the sun, I soared low so to as impress those nameless famers in nameless fields.
Lower, faster, lower still. I could not lift without ripping the very wings that had brought me to this. I was done! And into a field of lavender my body smashed. Its sweet perfume mingling with my blood. I lay there dazed till an unknown farmer, tilling an unknown field came upon me and brought me to an unknown farmhouse. The smell of lavender lingers in my senses and shall ever be I fear. But the dream of Icaras remains.
And now, in this painting you view, it is I, and my dog Leonardo that stands to the left on the road and stares up to the spire to witness challenge of the brave and the fool hearty. And the nameless farmers, tilling nameless fields of lavender, blue and mauve go about their business…
This was written for The Inferno’s Coxswain “Vertigo” theme where an artist from The Artist Challenge is asked to choose one of their pieces of art and the writers interpret it in words. You may find Ray Shuells painting here as well as the entire Vertigo collection.