Tag Archives: freedom


The wind is but a damp rustle of air here on the ground, as I pull myself from below the branches of the fir tree where I have spent the night. I gently stretch upward, reaching outspread fingers towards the sky.

The sky. The vast open horizon, the clouds puffed to heights, dizzying from here among the boulders and trees sprinkled unsparingly about this hillside. The blue, in between, so deep. Like the blue of an icy pool whose depth is unreachable. The sight pushes and prods me with an unseen but greatly felt force. Telling me to catch my fullest breath, brace against the cold dampness and dive head long and high. This force leaves me no chance for second thoughts or changed minds. I must leave my perch, to plunge deep into the blue that dazzles my eyes and grasps my heart.

I must join the clouds.

I must, if I am not to be torn limb from limb, heart from chest, mind from brain, I must dive and I must dive deep into the blue. This I have known since my eyes first haltingly opened to the sight of this immeasurable depth above.

First, though, I must seek the healing warmth of the sun. I must stretch my wings into the air and let stiff muscles and damp feathers be changed into that which makes my mere existence a life worth living and savoring. I must become that which I was created for. I must freely use the gifts given me so freely.

I reach again for the sky, but this time my reach is much greater and instead of skin covered fingers, I reach feather covered wings. Slowly they unfurl and stretch the muscles that attach them to my back and shoulders. Slowly they reach, twice as wide as my head is high and half again higher than that. Feathers shine as dampness is taken into the air, rising in misty steam above me, disappearing into the slight breeze.

Finally all feathers are dry, all muscles are supple and strong. I look into the clouds and take in my mightiest breath. I bend at the knees and with a great collaboration of muscle, feather and bone, my feet lose the feel of the ground. The boulders fall away behind me, as the very tops of the trees loom just ahead.

As I skim just over their skyward points, there is a great rustle in the branches. To my dismay, I see that I have startled other, smaller winged beings into flight. I see at once that they aren’t bothered by this intrusion into their morning. In fact, they seem quite happy to rise with me, above the morning, newly dawned.

As I climb higher, they slowly lag further and further behind. I have reached past their domain and into that of the heavier, heartier winged creatures of this world. That of the eagles, the hawks and the owls. Oh yes, and the creatures like me. The creatures given wings to rise, above a life that normally would have left me with but feet to walk and but imagination to soar.

My climb reaches a comfortable level, one with lifts and breezes brisk enough to sustain a glide by such a large and heavy two legged. I can feel my body suspended below these massive wings that carry me above, but it is more than that.

They are not merely an add on, they are uniquely part of me. As much a part of me as my arms or my legs or my head. The muscle of my back and my stomach and even my arms and legs flex and unflex to complete the miracle of flight. This is a process shared by the whole of my body. Each downward thrust of feathers forces the air from my lungs and each drawing up of wings, sucks air back into my chest. Only in a glide does my breathing return to normal.

I am aloft! I have been gifted with these great feathery masterpieces and I am ALOFT!

I know now that what is contained within our dreams at night, is as much a part of us as what is contained within our open eyed days. Maybe in some ways, it is even more a part. For it is the gift, to be and do that which our short seeing mind deems much too great a possibility. We experience both, yet only one do we accept as real. Reality is explained within our minds, so can’t it also be contained within our minds? We are, in part, what we experience. I am, in part, a beast given the the gift of wings. I am, in part, what I experience inside and outside my mind. I am a two-legged, impaired by gravity. But I am also a two legged that knows the feel of outstretched wings and damp feathers on a newly dawned morning. My weight weighs heavy upon the soles of my feet but my feet can launch my soul above these hills. And with all my heart and with all my soul, I know deep within my very being…


Independence Day


The dew lays heavy on my back and in my nostrils. The sun hasn’t yet risen above the horizon but the day has begun.

I unlock my joints and shake my legs to clear the stiffness away, wandering slowly towards the nearby stream to take my first drink of the day. I slide my nose into the water and the coolness causes me to jump, splashing the water back onto my chest and down my front legs, causing a deep shiver to run through my body. I stop my splashing, smelling the air and listening to sounds carried by the morning breeze. It would not do to let the man catch me again, this time, luck might not be with me.

I shiver again when I think of the man and his ways of stealing spirit from your heart. It’s always the same with him, he admires the rawness and the wildness of something and then sets right away to tame it for his own uses.

I made my mind up quickly, the morning that he caught me unaware that I would reclaim my freedom or I would die. I would not let him on my back for long, if I let him on at all and in the end, his butt touched my back only momentarily before I shook him off, like a summer fly.

I tried to strike out at him with my hooves as he hit the ground but he had rolled away and gained his feet too quickly. I turned to face him and he side stepped towards the fence. I rushed at him and chased him over and out of my reach.

I wanted him to know that I was not one of his plow horses, born and raised inside his cage. I would not do his bidding, now or ever. I would not eat his grain and I would either be free to eat the wild grasses again or I would cease to be. I would be of no use to him.

I had waited for him to walk out of sight that morning, knowing that he would soon leave me alone and tend to his other duties, as he had every morning since he had captured me. I was beginning to feel the effects of little food and water, I knew that this must be the morning that I challenged his cage.

He had stood leaning against the gate staring at me, he had seen no other horse like me. I would not give into him as some of the others would. I had spent too much time free, I had too much free heart built up inside of me. I could not survive his way of life, even if I chose it.

After he had been gone from the gate for some time, I walked slowly around and around the enclosure, looking for a weak spot. I leaned against the fence here and there, looking for a place that gave a little too much. Eventually, I found a place where it had been mended before but the mend had not stayed tight.

As I watched for his return, I began pushing slowly and intently against the weakness. I swayed back and forth, putting my weight against it, then easing back away. It took very little time to work the mend almost completely apart. As the pieces parted, I heard his boots shuffle around the corner of the barn.

This would be my only chance, so I heaved one last time and sent the pieces of fence popping and flying as my chest pushed through and my hooves pushed down the splintering wood. He heard the noise and started to trot towards the corral but I was already through and close to a gallop. He yelled and flapped his arms like a giant buzzard, trying to spook me back towards the barn but there was only one fence between me and the high plateau, that was my summer home.

I glanced back once, to see if he would chase me, I knew that he would not catch me, even up on the back of his horse. He hadn’t even bothered to mount up, he knew I was gone.


text copyright 1996

image copyright 2013 by Traveler Wendell