If freedom had a sound it would be an adagio. And if freedom had a colour it would have to be white. Because freedom rarely screams and it rarely dazzles because it is something earned not easily but quietly, over a period of time.
My first encounter with freedom was when I was six years old. My father had given me a few token coins. He placed them into my willing palm and they, as I recall, made strange indentations on the surface of my skin. I remember getting on my bicycle and peddling down to the shop. I bought a big bar of milk chocolate and I do recall breaking off just one square to suck on, to linger on. It was the first time I decided that I could ride my bicycle without hands on the handlebars. My feet were clad in sandals, stiff from saltwater. My legs tan with a silver down sprouting on the surface. I felt free then. Free of the tension and claustrophia that filled the house that, back then, I was not really understanding of.
Years on and freedom filtered in slowly with grace. It was decisions to go against the grain that spoke to me of freedom. To not have my children filled with religious notions. To go live in a place where there were no guarantees. To uproot. To settle down. To sing. To cry. To muse. To probe. Wonderful freedom of expression. To write. Wonderful freedom of choice. To think. Wonderful love. To kiss. Wonderful open arms to hugs.
Dark freedom too. Dark freedom in saying what does not want to be heard. Alienation comes with freedom, let me warn you about that. Oh, yes, the black sheep is alive and kicking. It takes guts to speak out with freedom, to swim against the tide. The majority does not like to be pointed out, right or wrong. Then, freedom becomes solitary and the gleaning of joy comes painfully at first, from only nature, from trees that bud and die and cannot speak in the accepted way and from animals, like dogs, who love back what you give to them. Maybe that's all that freedom is. It is so simple really. No, there are no ifs, ands or buts about freedom. If you are free you pay a price but the price is worth it if you can wipe away the clouds, spray off the gloating gunk that threatens to crawl over you and start on, move on, honestly, like riding a bicycle when you are six years old. Hands off the bars, eyes almost closed, the sun on your bare legs, a chocolate square melting in your mouth like a thousand stars exploding in your head.