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足底生风,心怀高远

著名儿童短篇小说《小王子》的作者安托万•德•圣•埃克苏佩里是位法国飞行员,他充满童心童趣的作品大多取材于他的飞行经历。我常常在想他那一颗赤子之心,是不是在纯净的高空一次次的翱翔,在对大地的一次次俯视中得到了神的启示?这位飞行员最后失踪于一次对抗纳粹飞行任务之中,再也没有回来。很多孩子都像他一样热衷速度与天空,希望他们都能有双翅膀,飞越现实的沟坎,在理想里自由飞翔。

Running. Running. Running! In my youth running was an absolute freedom I knew. Feeling the fresh early morning air rushing against my churning legs, arms, and speeding head. Sometimes I would close my eyes for a few seconds and pretend to be flying. My feet would barely touch the ground, and my body seemed to float on a breeze. This was my childhood delight growing up in southern California. Running on bare feet, my toes digging into the thick turf of a park's green grass, running to the nearby store on errands for my mother, wearing out my cheap shoes, or running to the school in fear of being late, this was a way of life. Jessie Owens, a Black man, had been called the fastest man on earth in the 50's during the Olympics. Later world-class speed demons were Bob Hayes, and then Carl Lewis. These were all Black men, and because of their speed feats, I dreamed that perhaps one day I could not only run but fly.

For some reason it was impossible to catch the school bus on most mornings. To arrive at school after the last bell rang would mean trouble. I had to run most mornings. If not, the teacher's red mark indicating tardiness would be placed beside my name. A sufficient number of these red marks allowed the teacher to lower my term grade from "Excellent" to "Good", or from "Satisfactory" to "Unsatisfactory". Even to arrive home from an errand taking over 15 minutes would warrant a wooden switch whipping for meandering. School grades lower than "Above Average" or "Outstanding" definitely meant a beating would be coming. However, running through the park was on my own time, and my choice. I felt free and unencumbered, my reward was the feeling of pleasing myself with the speed and quiet friendly caresses of nature's invisible hands. But this exercise did come with much sweat and physical exertion. There were many mornings when I sat in classrooms drenched in perspiration, my clothes wringing wet, while my classmates started their days fresh, clean, and dry.

Sometimes I dreamed to have wings on my feet. If this were possible perhaps I would not need to sweat so much. There also were times when floating between strides I felt as light as a feather, my small, thin body unable to keep contact with the earth beneath my feet. When sleeping I could maintain flight for long spans of time and distances. I could soar high effortless like a bird, swooping down to stop anyplace at any time. This was my freedom when I was asleep dreaming. Awake and laying on my back watching the clouds drift overhead, I tried thinking of ways that would allow me to join these nebulous images of vanishing figures.

In school I discovered strange stories. There was Icarus, the man with wings who flew too close to the sun. Then, Orville and Wilbur Wright, brothers whose invention of the airplane caused me to dream of flying my own solo plane. However, after the tragedy of Amelia Earhart's solo flight over the Pacific Ocean, such fantasy flying seemed impractical. Besides, I was informed that all air pilots were required to have perfect 20/20 vision. By then I was near-sighted, wearing thick lenses for eye glasses. My dreams of piloting my own airplane were dashed .

But this did not mean that I could not be a passenger and still fly anywhere around the globe. My first flight came when I was 16 years of age and purchased my own air tickets for flights from SB to LAX, and from LAX airport to San Francisco. Perhaps an added bonus to this excitement was the Helicopter ride from the nearby Orange Show grounds in San Bernardino to the airport in Los Angeles. After those minutes and short hours in flight, I was hooked on flying anywhere and everywhere, day or night. In flight I could cross mountains, and great bodies of water, see people, places, and worlds that I never knew to exist, or had only read about. There was no stopping me. I discovered being above the clouds the world is serene and splendiferous. The dark quietude, the glitter of millions of stars, the glorious light of sunrays, illuminates the soul unlike any other phenomenon. The smooth sailing in the jet-stream air currents, only at times interrupted by invisible ripples of cross-currents or "bad" weather. 

Because of these things, the exciting prospect of adventures with speed and flight has stayed with me over the years. I have flown literally around the globe countless times from continents and countries. This all started with running and dreaming. Thanks to technological advances, I can now sit back and rest my feet, still arriving anywhere in the world without perspiring. "Up, up, and away!" All in my own personal beautiful balloon of dreams! No need to run, only flying with or against invisible winds.

Vocabulary

1. churning: 搅动的;speeding: 快速移动的。

2. float: 浮,飘;breeze: 微风。

3. 赤脚跑着,脚趾踩入公园绿地厚厚的草皮中,跑到最近的商店给妈妈跑腿打杂,磨坏我便宜的鞋子,或者害怕迟到而跑到学校——这是种生活方式。bare feet: 光脚;dig into: 触到,把……插入;turf: 草皮;on errands: 跑腿,办杂事;wear out: 磨损,穿破。

4. world-class: 世界级的;speed demon: 原指乱开快车的人,这里比喻跑得快的人;Bob Hayes: 鲍勃•海耶斯(1942—2002),原奥林匹克短跑选手,后改行为橄榄球外接手,曾打破多项世界短距跑步的纪录;Carl Lewis: 卡尔•刘易斯(1961— ),美国田径选手,主攻100米和跳远,曾获10块奥运奖牌和10块世界锦标赛奖牌。

5. speed feat: 超群的速度技艺。

6. tardiness: 迟到。

7. sufficient: 足够的;term grade: 学期成绩。

8. warrant: 保证;wooden switch: 木鞭;whip: 鞭打;meander: 漫步,闲逛。

9. 我感到自由自在,无拘无束,从中体验到了一种因速度和自然无形之手那无声而友好的爱抚所带来的自身幸福感。unencumbered: 没有阻碍的,没有负担的; caress: 爱抚;invisible: 看不见的。

10. physical exertion: 强体力活动。

11. 很多个早上,我坐在教室里满身是汗,衣服湿得能拧出水来,而我的同班同学却干干净净,清清爽爽地开始他们的一天。drench in: 浸透在……;perspiration: 汗水,其动词原形为perspire(流汗);wring: 拧,扭。

12. stride: 大步,步幅; beneath: 在……之下 。

13. long span of: 长跨度的。

14. soar: 翱翔;effortless: 容易的,不费力气的;swoop down: 猛扑下来。

15. drift: 漂移; nebulous: 朦胧的,模糊的;vanishing: 消逝的。

16. Icarus: 伊卡洛斯,是希腊神话中代达罗斯的儿子,与代达罗斯使用蜡造的翼逃离克里特岛时,因飞得太高,双翼遭太阳溶化跌落水中丧生。

17. Orville and Wilbur Wright: 莱特兄弟,奥维尔(1871—1948)与威尔伯(1867—1912),这对美国兄弟是世界上第一架飞机的建造者和试飞员;solo plane: 单人驾驶飞机。

18. Amelia Earhart: 阿米莉亚•埃尔哈特(1897—1937),美国飞行先锋、作家,她是第一个单人飞越大西洋的女性飞行员,1937年7月2日在太平洋中部航行时失踪;fantasy: 幻想,白日梦;impractical: 不切实际的,不现实的。

19. inform: 告知;air pilot: 飞机驾驶员;20/20 vision: 指正常视力。20/20指站在20英尺(约6米)的距离外能正常看清东西的视力,也被称作6/6视力。往后依次为20/25、20/30、20/40等,指的是正常视力在25、30、40英尺等距离外应该看清的东西,你要在20英尺处才能看到。一般认为视力低于20/200为失明。

20. near-sighted: 近视的;lens: 镜片。

21. dash: 使沮丧,使落空。

22. SB: 圣贝纳迪诺(San Bernardino)的缩写,美国加州一城市;LAX: 洛杉矶国际机场的代码;San Francisco: 旧金山。

23. added bonus: 额外的奖励;helicopter: 直升飞机。

24. be hooked on: 迷上。

25. 在飞行中,我可以翻山越岭,横渡江河湖海,饱览各地人情风物——探索那些我闻所未闻,或者仅仅在书中读到过的种种。

26. serene: 平静的,安详的;splendiferous: 壮丽的,极好的。

27. quietude: 平静,宁静;glitter: 闪烁,灿烂;glorious: 壮丽的,光辉灿烂的;sunray: 太阳光线;illuminate: 照亮,使灿烂。

28. smooth: 平稳的;sailing: 航行;jet-stream air current: 喷气气流;ripple: 波纹,涟波;cross-current: 逆流。

29. prospect: 前景,展望。

30. literally: 确实地,不夸张地;countless: 数不清的;continent: 大洲。


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