Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Walking in Freedom

If there is any advantage of getting up sometimes at 4 a.m.,  it's occasionally getting done in time to enjoy a little bit of last light, a short trek around the fields and trees that surround my little town. With a couple hours free before darkness drew a cape across the face of the moon, I had time for a long walk around the area, on some property of a friends. Time to gather my thoughts, ricocheting around inside my head with all that's going on in the world. Time, after travel and busy days, for stillness and quiet, out among the cold and a few trees.

At the base of one tree was the trunk of another felled during the recent wind storm and for a moment I could stop and sit and think, just taking in the winter landscape. Had it been warmer I could have taken a nap there, leaning against the tree. I've done that while pheasant hunting, where I would set my gun down and exhausted from miles of walking, simply lean against a tree with a patch of sun tattooing my skin and sleep. My black lab would drop to his haunches at my side, sniff the air for trouble, then doze himself, twitching to rabbity dreams.
 

As kids, my brother and I would sleep in the yard on many a starry night, dragging out the little pup tent, and setting it up under the canopy of the apple trees. We'd lie on our backs in our sleeping bags out on the grass, tracking satellites through the air and speculating on the nature of the heavens and why the plain Hershey bar was just better than the one with nuts in it. We were kids, and there were no worries, about death or taxes or bears or hydrophobic porcupines. We'd wake, ground cold and soggy with dew, and hike back those 10 yards to the house, bleary eyed from lack of sleep yet energized with the joy of believing that we would live forever.

The woods still fascinate me.To be alone under a shelter of trees is divine. I know many that would not be so comfortable, not truly happy unless they are the center of attention, with lights and music and action. Not I. To drift alone in thought in the presence of the trees and the proximity of the earth is much of what I feel when I'm flying. In it I get a sense of the truly spiritual. Not in the traditional sense, but in the ablution that comes from placing ones self at the alter of the planet, and for just a moment picking out a little infinity from the perpetually crushing teeth of time.
 
As I pause for a moment, among the trees, I'm reinforced in the smallness of my form next to their trunks, smiling as the branches separate me from the chatter of the world that echoes outside the woods. There is comfort in these trees, old and strong, even if scarred, for I am stricken by the thought of tremendous roots threading their way under the ground beneath me, weaving themselves into the soil, becoming one with it, taking nourishment from it, in a way we poor ground dwellers rarely will. Such gravity of purpose.

The weather is changing and a small sting against my face tells me it's time to head back towards home.  The chill of the rain wakes me from my thoughts, a pinprick of cold, each lance full of the promise of its remission, here one moment, then gone, like the tears of a child.  One moment, there is the rumble of thunder, water released from above, then it's gone, fleeing southward on the wind, leaving behind only spent confetti of moisture on pale limbs that gather and drip into puddles that reflect the sky that only moments before had prisoned them. 

Leaning against the trees, sun glinting off of those small drips of water that cling to ancient wood, the secret whisper of wind invisible to me and silent, asks of me - would we find the beauty in anything if we lived forever? Would the gems of thoughts and feelings and desire be so precious if we knew they would always be upon our shelf? Or would they fall to the earth, trickling through our hands like water, evaporating on the cold ground, because we thought our hold on them was eternal.


Life is fleeting and beautiful, yet I will fight strong to hold onto it until the last dwindling dawn. I will quietly fight against others that would disparage me and my life. I will fight for those that wish to take the freedoms and liberty that those around me have worked so hard for. As these thoughts unbidden flit through my mind like the scattering of sun against a few remaining leaves, I pat the gun on my hip and am thankful that I am free to carry it on land that I own as a free citizen.

Perhaps why that is why I believe so strongly in the Second Amendment, a part of the U.S. Constitution that did not give us that right, but AFFIRMED it. Was it not the rights of those that planted these lands, and their fathers before them, to carry arms to protect and preserve these plots of ground? Ground that they labored until death to maintain and preserve for the next generation. The land is precious, as is the fruits of our hard work. As I walk through the woods, I rest my hand on the wood that makes up the grip of my weapon, feeling the cold power of its strength, that in turn flows through my arm, emboldening my step. I walk boldly, a woman alone in a vacant field, knowing well that my gun may not be needed but for the day a politician tries to take it from me.

As I turn to head back to home  the words of Benjamin Franklin come to me.

God Grant that not only the Love of Liberty, but a thorough Knowledge of the Rights of Man, may pervade all the Nations of the Earth, so that a Philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its Surface, and say, "This is my Country.".

This IS my country, and THIS is my land. I believe that as strongly as I believe that I have the right to protect it, to protect myself from those that would wish to take it from me to share the wealth with those whose days have not known such labors as I. Selfish? No. I am part of this land, and it is part of me. I have earned the right to be here, and I will rest my ashes in its ancient depths when I am gone, when all the light of freedom gathers in one fierce expiring inhalation, time to go home to glory.

We're almost home, Barkley looking up at me from his enigmatic gaze as I move towards the door. Clouds move across the sun, water drips like blood but with no warmth, the lifeless chill which bears no kinship with the healing wet of holy waters.   I quietly walk across the leaves that blanket the earth's secret, carrying with me hope, history and the steel of eternal vigilence. I look up to the sky, thirsty roots sunk deep.

9 comments:

  1. "No. I am part of this land, and it is part of me. I have earned the right to be here, and I will rest my ashes in its ancient depths when I am gone, when all the light of freedom gathers in one fierce expiring inhalation, time to go home to glory."

    This. Exactly this.

    Thank you so much for what you do. I believe that your Blog is sometimes an equivalent to an iceberg on the ocean. We see so little on the surface, but occasionally you give a bit of sonar ranging to the breadth and depth of you.

    I try to read between the lines and here there is much to do.

    Bravo.

    Oh, nice heaters! Love the Springfield you led off with.

    I do what I can to defend the Second. I convert people =)
    It brings me much joy to do so. Meeting people here has kept me going and strengthened me in continuing that task.





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  2. Your discussion of finding peace in the woods where others might not-- one part of my life requires that I remain on a firm spiritual footing. Some folks find it odd that I may do so in a treestand, or resting against an old hickory or oak in squirrel time, or simply geing in what God created. That's how it works for me, though. And as also mentioned, these Rights that were enumerated are Affirmed, not granted by government; there is only one source for that gift. Thanks again, Brigid!

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  3. Thank you Keads - the Springfield is a favorite here. I'm going to try and do a range review on it in the next week or two.

    You do more than most, providing not just skills but the mindset that goes with it. That's a rare gift.

    Mick - aye. Even as a kid, I'd wander out by myself in the woods, not so far from the house I'd get lost, just far enough out to be alone.

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  4. Freedom so precious yet so many squander their freedoms to create the illusion of control over others.
    To the front are the battles but behind are the wars. Is a battle won but a war lost? What battles are to be fought to maintain a freedom?

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  5. I too find peace and freedom in the woods. I thrive on it. Never, never surrender your freedom. Remember that like the professor in Heinlein's "The Moon is A Harsh Mistress" you can be free anywhere if you choose to be . You guys in the USA have a political battle on your hands the next four years. Never give up though. We are rolling back the clock here slowly in Canada. There is always hope.

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  6. I had similar thoughts as I sat in the deer blind Monday morning... listening.. watching... thinking...

    Your words are so much more eloquent this this ol' country boy...

    Dann in Ohio

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  7. As usual, Brigid, you expressed my exact sentiments in words I haven't mustered since my heart died at the hands of a young lady years ago.
    (haven't figured out why the pain deadened, rather than amplified, the emotions and passion, but the sarcasm was emboldened and enhanced)
    Time alone in a tree stand or a long walk is my mental recharge. As a kid, when I didn't have sports practice or chores, my feet were shuffling thick piles of leaves on trails uncharted.

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  8. This IS my country, and THIS is my land.

    Amen. We are free, with liberty not license. I was born not far from where I live these days. I reckon I'll die here. My country.

    I do hope the politicians, the judges, the regulators, and the revenuers understand.

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  9. So far we have not had an 'all out' assault on our Second Amendment rights such as confiscation, however I fear many who claim to be champions of it would cave in if it came to that. We have lost so many freedoms and the average person doesn't even know it.
    "Those willing to sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither" and I might add will get neither.

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