Adventures on the Road—Flying Horses

Brian J. Sullivan

Last weekend while traveling through Georgia on my way to an art fair in South Florida, I saw my first flying horse. More correctly, I should say that I saw a whole flock of them. How many I saw is hard to say because it was getting dark—that time at dusk just before the sun drops below the horizon. The sky was going from dark blue to black as my eyes struggled to adjust. I was following my philosophy of traveling along back roads and exploring our country's bountiful scenery.

The name on the rusted county road sign had all but faded from existence—its pole leaning slightly to one side. Macon was the last major city I had passed, albeit some time ago. I was now on some dusty gravel road, south of Pebble City, west of I-75 along State Route 37. Telephone poles with multiple wires drooping from one to another were on my right. To my left were tall old growth cypress trees with expansive canopies. Dried tobacco plants were in the fields beyond. Nothing was of any particular interest until I began to hear this incredible cacophony of chatter, the sound of which was unlike any I have ever heard before. I could best describe it as a cross between a donkey's bray and the cackling of a flock of starlings roosting high up in the trees. The sound of branches breaking also was present. Dark figures were silhouetted against the sky.

That’s when I got my first hint that something was amiss. I slowed my van down to a near crawl. I noticed rapid movement—first among the foliage of the trees, then occasionally on top of the telephone poles. These shadowy figures I called flying horses, but they were not large winged mammals flying gracefully through the air like depicted in Greek mythology as Pegasus. No, these elusive creatures were more strangely configured. They were approximately the size of small ponies, had short sets of wing-like appendages on their backs which under no circumstances could support their weight. This made them appear rather clumsy, since the farthest they could "fly" was as far as they could jump, "fly," and then glide from spot to spot. They had large powerful hind legs like that of a kangaroo and small front legs which were more hand-like for grabbing on. Their ears were long and floppy like those of a basset hound. They "flew" from one tree to another in unorganized groups (think of monkeys chasing each other around in the trees). Occasionally one would "fly" over the road in front of me to the top of an adjacent telephone pole. Being large and rather awkward, their landing was more of a crash-like affair. Every so often, one would fall through the branches of the tree and land on the ground, at which time this creature would stumble around, right itself, and unceremoniously head back to the comfort of the tree tops.

My loyal and faithful traveling companion, "Charles," a mixed breed dog, had witnessed it too but shared little interest in it. And unfortunately my camera was locked way in the back of the van, inaccessible at the moment. Then as quickly as they had appeared, they vanished, leaping from tree to tree towards the horizon, leaving me with only a brief moment in time in which to register such an event into my memory. I continued on, wondering how this experience would impact the future of my art work.

So remember, as you travel from one art fair to another across this vast continent we call the United States, it is in the journey, not the destination in which we find life's greatest treasures. And if I could leave you with any parting thoughts, they would be:

Get plenty of rest
Eat well
Stay fit
Be open to new experiences
Take risks
Travel the road less traveled
Take my advice
Take your time
Take your camera
And see you under the canopy.