Canada: Freedom in open air


I’d been living in a place of winter, of summer snows and spring shadows. Edmonton is a place where dreamers fall into reality, shave away their hearts on sleeves and hibernate in economic security and bored fantasies. At least, that’s what it was to me.

Life on the road left me broke and with nothing. Adventure swooped me up and ditched me when I’d nothing left to give. The time of my life, but it had to end. Borders and boundaries drove me back to the New World, where I felt trapped in the drone of living a traditional life, if only for a short time. Travel had set me free, but taken away the joy of monogamy, monogamy to place and stability.

I tore off to Canada’s west for a short while to regain myself. Off to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Canada’s Florida: a land of retirees and recreational visitors. A desert oasis in the North, a land of vineyards and orchards.

For a time, I bicycled the trails, through wood and creek. The scene went on and on, closed in and unending. Push hard, keep moving, a silent and repetitious thought moved through my mind. Finally, the scene opened up to endless road through desert hills, diverging in each way, with me at its center. Downhill and accelerating, I let my hands leave the bars, as the push of streaming air steadied my weight. I extended my arms outward, slightly conscious at first of eyes that may be watching, and then not caring. I was soaring. In that moment I was freed. Not to do something for someone else, but for myself, even without purpose.

I flew by expanses of green and brown and open air. In the late afternoon, the sun set shadows in corners and edged out angles to make them more pronounced. My decisions in life came to me at once, and it was all so clear. Why live in my dark and dreary hope for more? A place where life happens, but I am too afraid to make it mine. Why that, when I can live in sunshine, moving always and ahead of boredom’s path?

Here is where I am myself, in open air and without external pressure. A place where I can stop and consider my happiness, what truly makes me happy, not what I may think does. To see life in all directions and without restriction. In an unending world that will not swallow me in darkness, but in new life and experiences. Be it any place, any time, but always moving and changing. This is my freedom.

My wheels slowed their turning and I came to a stop at a dip in the road. My hands on the bars again. I looked behind to see my companions in the distance, struggling to keep up the pace I’d built in my elation. For a moment, I lingered in the solitude, knowing that it would end. This place would end, for me at least. I’d go away and likely never come back. Although, the feeling I had there would grow and evolve. It would change me. I’d never feel whole again in shadows, but with the open air at my fingertips.

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Gratitude Travel Writing Contest

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One response to “Canada: Freedom in open air

  1. Love your story. I identify with it like it’s my own. I had also entered this contest (Rocky journey Canada) with a different take on the topic, but feel I could have written it from your point of view. I also feel such a sense of freedom in the outdoors. Canada is my home and I yearn to travel more of it. I struggle to reach beyond the limits of my life and return to the travel life and outdoor explorations. Thanks for sharing. Cheryl

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