The light barely touching the horizon; a pre-storm chilling breeze isolating his body. He keeps riding, not even trembling from the wind slapping his face. The gravel speeding by underfoot as an unstoppable force. A world to explore. Open roads, no right nor wrong. This is freedom.
Days turn to weeks and weeks to months, and yet he is still riding. Stopping only for food or rest. No one notices the figure traveling by. Passing houses, libraries, stores containing exquisite and fine detailed shoes and clothes of every size and colour. Things he could only imagine possessing. He peers down at his ripped and worn shoes, smiling. They mark where he has been and the memories that were made. Every turn of the pedal, a new adventure. Open roads, no right or wrong. This is freedom.
Leaving behind what once was hard, resulting in hunger and boredom. Now opportunity, life, and self. Knowing he can go anywhere and do anything at his own will. Open roads, no right or wrong. This is freedom.
A couple of weeks pass. He reaches an old country town. Skeleton hills roll farther than the horizon. Beige crops blanket the land. Rusted tin and crumbled brick ruins, structures collapse in empty paddocks. The light whispering of the trees. The screech of an old sign swinging on its hinges. Stopping in the centre of an intersection, a street sign directs, but which way? Forwards, the future? Left, the past? Or right, the present? Was he to explore what he has known, what he knows or what he is to know? Finally, a choice of his own to make. Is this freedom?
A familiar sign – he has been here before. How can it be? Returning to the beginning? The start, the hunger, the hardship, the boredom. Is it home? A sense of place, belonging, family, friends and ancestors. Is this freedom?
A sense of presence. A strong but solemn presence. One that we bury deep within, waiting for the right time to reveal itself. Secrets of the past. Children gathering and chatting around a campfire as the elders present stories of noble warriors, ancient clans and Dreamtime. The creation of the Earth. This was freedom.
All new thoughts come flashing into motion. Men stalking animals with spears, women foraging for plants and children running through the open bushland, playing behind trees and laughing. This was freedom.
Distant voices growing louder, and he is pulled from his thoughts. Surrounding him are people, many people. His people. All gathering in ceremony, dancing, singing, telling stories. Are they calling him to re-join them? He reaches out to someone familiar. His grandfather. They have not forgotten him; they were calling him, home. He does belong. He is the future. This is Freedom