Sunday, November 8, 2009

Freedom and Mobiles

After delving into the depths of loneliness, it seems only fair to pay tribute to freedom.

Yesterday I was supposed to do many things ... but I didn't. Walking to the store for vitamins, I wound up at Pizza Hut in the midst of a girls' hockey team celebrating their win. Starting to work on a new online class, I wandered into a blog that led me to another blog that led me to T.S. Eliot reading "The Hollow Men." Writing about loneliness for my blog sent me off to find a picture from Belize that took me down a rabbit hole of emotion where I stayed until it had run its course. For the past several months I've felt like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon, wings still weak and wet, gradually flapping them dry and making short little forays around my life, looking for the boundaries. Now, as my wings become stronger, I find there are no walls, no fences, no restraints ... so I flit from one bright flower to another.

However, I am still just a butterfly, a small insect exploring the world so all the natural boundaries are mine ... I cannot plant the flowers, I must find them. I cannot build a nest, I must shelter under a leaf. I cannot pull a U-Haul so I travel light. But, within the range of my capabilities, I am free. And what a self-indulgent treasure that freedom seems. After a life of alarm clocks, deadlines, compromises, budgets, trade-offs and following the rules, doing what I want, when I want and how I want is almost decadent. It is almost too rich, like eating a box of chocolates at one sitting and I can feel the pendulum reaching the end of its arc, ready to move back into the more moderate territory of commitment, partnership and compromise.

I'm sure a time will come when I will also trade metaphors ... rather than penduluming between freedom and commitment, perhaps I'll choose as my model the mobile which holds many things in perfect balance and harmony. When I am strong enough, I may be able to balance freedom and commitment and take on a schedule or deadline or a project requiring more than a few hours to complete. But, for now, I'm perfectly happy to be free to flit, tasting the nectar offered by life in the wild.

Yet it's probably good to listen to these wise words from Peter Coyote:
"The idea of absolute freedom is fiction. It's based on the idea of an independent self. But, in fact, there's no such thing. There's no self without other people. There's no self without sunlight. There's no self without dew. And water. And bees to pollinate the food we eat....So the idea of behaving in a way that doesn't acknowledge those reciprocal relationships is not really freedom, it's indulgence."


  1. It's probably not a blog you write but a book. Flit on! (Though I must say I was somewhat stunned to see "wise words" and "Peter Coyote" in the same sentence.)


  2. But, Don ... they are wise words, aren't they? It's always nice to hear from you.

  3. Hello Joyce -- I love the idea of the mobile -- brightly shining in the light, balancing beauty and darkness, light and shadow, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears without fear that anyone thing will pull it off kilter.

    A beautiful post.



  4. I hear the word mobile and think of Calder's works, often massive and yet delicate at the same time, rhythmic and perfectly timed, visible yet moving in a balance we cannot see, colors in harmony. Not a bad metaphor at all!