It’s time to write about freedom! I shied from this topic for a long time because it was not something I had experienced in this body before. I believed as Antoine de Saint-Exupery that freedom was “of the mind” because that was the only experience of freedom I have had.
There is not an adequate definition of the word “freedom” because it means so many different things to different people. Freedom is a state, not an absolute. There is “freedom from” constraint or things undesirable; “freedom of” speech or the press; “freedom to” follow one’s destiny or worship as one pleases. You see, freedom is complicated to define, difficult to experience.
Some years ago I purchased a Vespa LX150 from a friend who decided to live in Germany. He had named the scooter Angelica and although I don’t usually name or personify inanimate objects, I started referring to her (also female) by that name. After a short courtship, Angelica and I became connected. As strange as I know it sounds, I begin to trust her and felt trusted by her. I know the physical limits of her capabilities and she my physical constraints. When I am riding Angelica, I experience a connection between my conscious and unconscious being, my awareness of everything around me is greatly increased over sustained periods of time, and not just in bursts of insight.
It would be easy to attribute this heightened awareness to being on a scooter in a world of two ton automobiles, but it is not. I am very familiar with those senses because a bicycle was my primary means of transportation for over twenty years.
Beneath me Angelica becomes a conduit to the unconscious. She opens a connection with the rhizomes of life’s unconsciousness. Her wheels are sensors to life’s heartbeat. When traveling the many winding canyon roads through the vineyards near my home, watching a pair of red tail hawks perform their arial matting ritual becomes more than just a beautiful visual. I am an active participant. I am flying. I am tumbling and falling toward the earth. I am held in the tight safety of her talons, the wind blowing through our feathers, matting, and separating a few feet above the ground.
“This is freedom!” An unconscious voice says to my conscious mind. “It is the participation in being alive with all of life.”
Thank you Angelica, my little Vespa with wings. Now I know the meaning of freedom.