Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Freedom

I've been in the UK for going on a week now. I was first here to deliver a conference paper and now I'm traveling around. The conference paper went well. Delivering it felt like dropping it, syllable by syllable, off a bridge and watching each one race away on the current of the river, an academic game of Pooh Sticks. It was just gone, gone, gone, nothing left to think about but the space it left behind.

I spent several days hiking in The Lakes District and I'm still unsure how I managed to leave. I could have stayed and been happy there for a very long time. The day I arrived at my farmhouse B&B, I looked out my windows at the hills towering above me, dropped my bag, and practically ran up the public footpath to their tops.

Now I'm in York, staying in a lovely little B&B. I have the tiny attic room, up exactly 57 steps. I can look out over the garden and see York hovering above the trees. Last night, I watched a bat flutter and swoon outside my window. The room has been decorated meticulously, with pictures on the walls of women circa 1900. I keep looking at those women and my entire sense of the room shifts. My imagination takes hold and suddenly the room belongs, not just to some lovely lady of long ago, but instead of any one of a number of women characters in movies and books, women who are trapped in the attic, trapped in their father's home, trapped. It makes the attic room seem a little tight all of a sudden. It leaves me wondering what it might have been like to look out those windows and see only the world you couldn't explore. Last night, it left me whispering tiny prayers of gratitude from my atheist lips. Thank god I see the hills outside a bedroom window as a world to tear out into, hair in the wind and dirt on my knees. Thank god I don't look out a window and see what I can't have. Thank god I can wander the countryside on my own, with nothing but time and desire to manage. Thank god to be born a woman and born a woman right now. Thank god.

4 Comments:

Blogger O'Donovan said...

Thank God you posted. It gave me a huge smile, and I've been having a day full of smiles -- but this one was among the biggest.

Especially over this part: "an academic game of Pooh sticks."

5:39 PM  
Blogger Puzzled said...

Wonderfully conveyed! I feel the thrill and it put some zing into my ho-hum day.

You so deserve this!

6:05 PM  
Blogger Anniina said...

Oh Acre, how wonderful for you, and how wonderful for us that you let us share in that feeling! Enjoy your trip!

10:06 PM  
Blogger Acre said...

Thanks, all. I'm glad my enthusiasm came through. It was a wonderful trip.

And O'Donovan, I'm glad you took the Pooh Sticks reference. I was worried it was a little odd.

4:06 PM  

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