Freedom is not just about the written word, saying and doing as you like in a free republic, being an American as you define it. That is part of it, an important part. But there is more, something beyond words, a kind of authenticity to life, a freedom of spirit.
Freedom, in a word, can be wordless, just a feeling, one that eludes easy expression. The feeling comes from taking risks, realizing you have that chance, opening the throttle on a country road, opening your mind without fear, jumping off a lake dock, or into personal creativity, music, art, reading, writing, chasing your goals, hand over hand up a tall tree, turning into the storm.
Freedom is being where you never imagined being and loving it – awash in wonder, seeing a lake bottom or distant mountains from a parasail, that spot in a sky you did not know you could occupy. It is watching a child grow, learn to walk, talk, play, giggle, laugh, tickle, and tumble, unencumbered by worries, filled with undefined optimism, possibilities, free of fear.
We do those things in America because we can, because our spirts are not tethered, broken by oppression, neither lost nor caught, not brought to a knee, but free. We do these things because we dare to think big and then bigger, to imagine, to test, and to see where testing leads.
We do that because we have faith in the possible, a word limited only by imagination. We have faith in ourselves, our neighbors, a confluence of ideals, knowledge of things seen, belief in things unseen, freedoms made possible by a constitution preserved with care and intent.
And sometimes, like a gust up a mountain pass, the feeling overtakes you, lifts you up unexpectedly. Clouds of doubt scatter, worries vanish, propelling you in ways only a free individual, in a free society can know. Such a day spurred this essay.
I was off for a simple afternoon run, unfamiliar place, meandering dirt road, undulating farm fences, mind wandering. Pace mattered little. Muscles, joints, and sinew objected slightly, function of age, but my spirit was willing and the expanse waiting.
Legs and arms dissociated from thinking, world became a place for play, oxygen-rich air, gentle roll of unlabeled roads. I misplaced time, temperature, and tempo. That is freedom. Crunch, spring, glide. Crunch, spring, glide. That was my whole world.
I passed a rope-wrapped farm gate, fencing along both sides, wide fields beyond. The fields were green, sprinkled with animals. I gave them no mind, dashed past, twig on a current. Somewhere beyond, I noticed an unfamiliar sound, slightly ominous.
Somewhere, large, powerful, fast animals – were running. My mind was slow, but somewhere in my untroubled soul, something said “pay attention.” Now the sound grew louder. What happened next was, for me, the embodiment of freedom, that hidden rollick in life, jump waiting to be taken, reward for living with whatever comes. It is the smiling, wonderful side of freedom.
From behind me, in numbers too big to count, filling the dirt fence to fence, poured a hoard of galloping horses, big and brawny, calico, brown, white spotted, speckled, and black, muscular, magnificent. Like me, they were free, no longer fenced. Like me, they ran as wild horses run, glad in the moment. And somewhere behind me, that gate must have swung wide.
The roar of their hooves, beat of breathes expelled by giant lungs, muscle-lashed legs came on. Thunder in my ears, they were like a locomotive at my elbow, manes flying, all about me.
For a moment, I wondered how this would end, me beneath their hooves or somehow avoided. The freedom-loving phalanx just powered on, galloped with me, then by me, consciously not over me. Somehow, they respected a two-legged horse, struggling for cadence on their road, as if we shared the feeling of being free. Unconstrained, they let me be, another freeform runner.
To run free with horses alive in the flow of their unsaddled freedom, along a narrow dirt track, wherever they were going, was like being carried over a waterfall tipped on its side. I was carried by them, their force, their love of freedom.
Those glorious, galloping animals seemed to embody freedom. They gave me their wings, lifted me into their world, before gradually letting me down, allowing me to settle in peace. For one indescribable moment, their freedom swept me. We shared the spirit.
To some, the experience will seem insignificant, and in some ways it is. It is not warfighting, speechmaking, a moment of victory. But in life, freedom – the simple feeling of life without constraint – does now and then sweep us. Stopping to absorb it is worthwhile. Unfenced horses, glad for the chance to run, reminded me how transcendent freedom can be. Like wild horses, we should love it, be glad for it, not forget what is occasionally beyond the power of words.
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support the AMAC Foundation. Our 501(c)(3) powers the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Services. This team of nationally accredited advisors offers on-time, on-the-mark guidance for those approaching or receiving Social Security – at no cost.Donate Now
Wild horses, we will ride them someday, in Heaven. Be ready!
Wonderful and inspiring words filled with sentiment. The meaning of which is evident and emotional.
Just like our heritage and past American Exceptionalism, this too will be erased by deception and lies. Our youth has been positioned by lies of Academic Socialists. A long and tedious process of Marxist leanings. This all has been garnered by our “leaders” in the Republican party with “go along to get along” policies to the point of extinction. The nothing is going to happen attitude has shot We The People in the foot! Giving credence to the old saying, “if you cannot beat them… join them?”
Beautifully written RBC… The power of the written word can be most inspiring indeed…
Your experience with the running horses brought a song to mind almost immediately done by the Rolling Stones, i.e. ” Wild Horses…”
I just might shut all of this stuff off & head out to the woods & do some woodland photography…
Bill on the Hill… :~)
Mr. Charles wonderful description of freedom.
Not an insignificant moment at all. This was beautifully written. I’ve got a few moments similar to yours. One of mine was sitting on a high ridge on a snowy day when I’d been hunting quail with my Brittany. We took a break and with him beside me, my arm around him, stared into a creek bottom below in the quietest quiet I’ve ever experienced. My dog seemed to appreciate the moment as much as I did.
Freedom is earned. It is not given or automatic. It is certainly more than just talking about it. It requires action to attain and maintain over time. If people wish to remain free, they have to be willing to defend their rights and freedoms from those that would seek to take them all away. If a people are NOT willing to fight to defend their rights and freedoms, history shows us that those people end up losing their freedom and ultimately become slaves, in one form or another, of an oppressive government. Watching animals in the wild should remind us all, that all forms of life instinctually desire to be free. Sometimes people need to be reminded of that fact.