LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

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It was 7:10 and foggy when I stepped out of the house this morning. I walked across the wildlife feeding area we call our front lawn to head into the woods. My feet were wet after four steps, the mixture of oats, wheat and rye grass heavy with dew.

The air was still and cool. Indoors, my growing hair was straight, commanded by a fractional portion of Chocktaw blood, but by the time I returned to the house more than an hour later, the Welsh side of my ancestry had taken over, as surely as if I had been traversing the moors, and it would stay wild and curly for the rest of this day.

Roaming the firelines, I felt encapsulated within an aviary, the marvelous soundtrack elevating my morning walk. A still-roosting turkey, awakened way up in his tree near swamp’s edge, flapped large wings much louder than necessary to make his point, (or so it seemed to me), and flew noisily off into the heart of darkness.

A thought bubble floated ahead of me, tethered like a balloon to my morning shadow: freedom. Clearly, out here in the woods, I feel free. Free and easy. Free to be me, to sing, dance, to kick ass and take names, to jump up, to sprint, to shout out loud, roll in the dirt, eat grass, go mad and become sane again.

Last week, visiting a friend in a lock-down psychiatric ward, I had occasion to ponder the various meanings and venues of the concept of freedom. Found myself happy to have that visitor’s pass, just in case a staff person picked up an off-tempo vibe.

For my friend, I believe freedom has become more a concept of freedom “from” rather than freedom “to”.

I hope you will take a few minutes to walk with me. The photos are only one dimension, flat, scentless, without sound effects of birds, bubbling water, airplane drone, beep-beep-beep of a faraway truck backing up, rustle of startled birds in a yaupon bush, or the sight too fast for a camera of a large rabbit streaking into cover.

Freedom.

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