Have you ever found yourself doing something that made you feel wonderfully free? Not illegal, or nasty, or anything like that. Just something that you wouldn’t dream of being able to do normally, mainly because we live in a society with such strict rules and laws these days.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a person who cries ‘nanny state’ every time there’s a call for more restrictions. I think humans can be the dumbest creatures on earth, and we need to be protected from ourselves (there’s a reason they do the annual Darwin awards!). But it’s nice to do something free of restrictions, as long as they’re not hurting anyone.
For me these seem to revolve around animals or nature. Like going rambling with the dogs, having them off-leash, in a bush or country setting with no-one else in sight (where I live, there are strict rules on keeping dogs restrained in public). It’s so relaxing to wander with the dogs zigzagging freely, noses to the ground, enjoying every scent they can find.
Last weekend, we had the dogs free in a little-used area behind our local sports ground. We picked blackberries while the dogs followed rabbit trails and came running back to us for treats of over-ripe fruit. Even picking the fruit was an unusual freedom – normally the local council sprays them into submission (they’re an introduced pest in Australia), but this area hadn’t been done this year, and we’d had the right amount of rain and sun to bring them to prolific ripeness. So we came home with purple-stained fingers and almost a kilo of luscious fruit!
When I was a kid, we had the best summer holidays, ‘up at the river’, as we called it. Various family members took their caravans up to the peaceful Kiewa Valley in north-eastern Victoria, and camp in Mum’s cousins’ cow paddock, beside the lovely Tawonga River. In the shade of gumtrees and willow trees, we’d do nothing but sleep, swim, read, eat, chat and listen to the cricket on the radio.
We’d watch the daily migration of the dairy cows, listen to the birds, and and be lulled to sleep by the water burbling past at night. No electricity, no mobiles or laptops in those days, just peace and quiet and books. And no accommodation costs or hotel/caravan park rules and very few other people to contend with, apart from passing fishermen or people floating down the river on rubber tubes (something else we got to do!). Bliss.
And another childhood holiday (we had many fantastic ones, I really was lucky!) involved hiring a ‘gypsy caravan’ pulled by a Clydesdale horse – oh the excitement! It all felt a bit Famous Five-1950’s style, not Australia in the early 80’s! They taught us how to harness Toby, our strapping young gelding, and to feed and groom him. We spent the first day with someone from the company checking on us, but then we were on our own, ambling down gravel roads in back-country Victoria, always at walking pace. Even better, we’d been allowed to take our dog Silky with us, so she got to sit up between my brother and me while we took the reins, or trotted along beside while we walked. We had time to study the lush native forests around us, make billy tea over a campfire, or lie on a bunk inside reading or napping while Toby ambled along. Happily, these holidays are still going today – I wonder would it still be the same as a grown-up?
I’ve also had some lovely moments in other countries, such as standing underneath a small waterfall at Iguassu Falls in Argentina – I’m sure this would not be allowed now, but where we were, it was safe and so refreshing in the tropical heat, and well, just so cool!
What’s been a pleasing moment of freedom for you – something that didn’t seem possible in today’s world of restrictions and over-crowded populations, but you found yourself doing anyway? 🙂