88 Pounds of Free Will

After a long summer of rest and recuperation, some of you know we are now able to walk our dog again on leash for some minutes per day. This week we may walk about 20 minutes, and we’ve had several successful trips back to the marsh and wooded trails he loves. Certainly poking around these on a leash is not the same as running wild and freely for 45 minutes. All the same, however, Autumn presents a beautiful panoply of colors and smells, even if we are limited in our range of motion.
Last week’s brief walk planted the question in my mind of just how limited we all might be, even if we don’t know or perceive to be so. I wonder if in some way we, too, are on leash just by our human limitations of time, energy, and the physical spaces in which we move. When my dog stops moving and sits, as he may do in the field, or as he just did in my driveway, not totally satisfied with a 10 minute turn around the town common (all we could do today, the furnace went out and we are hosting an exchange student for 3 weeks), I can tug all I want on his leash or choke collar. 88 pounds of free will does not move, and we are stuck. Unlike the gorgeous herons I am passing in my late train into the city today, we don’t fly free and the wind takes us nowhere. Free will can still limit us. When is that obstinate, sacrificial, or even beneficial?
Freedom is such a gift, and so is slowing down long enough to see what opens up before us if we pause. For now, I hope the bumps in the road ahead of me smooth out just a little and allow for some pauses, and I wish for us all views of the marsh grass before the winds of winter drive us back inside again and closer to the hearth.


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