As I weave through plodding packs of lunch-going workers, I look up at the sky. It’s a sheer pale blue, lightened by the glare of the sun that I cannot yet see. The tall buildings surrounding me block its immediate entrance to my world. Not so long ago, it was palm trees shading my body from a too hot tropical sun. Right now, too much concrete is the barrier. I want to feel the sun slap me across the face and jolt the coldness from my body. I cross the road to the sunny side side of the street but the sun feels distant . It has already commenced its winter retreat.
I glide with long, powerful strides towards my city oasis, the concreted earth passing unseen beneath my feet. Too long surrounded by artificial and man-made structures, I long to see and feel the dirt and rocks our planetary home is made of. I want to lay down on hot, golden, silky sand and feel the earth’s heart beat under mine just like I did mere weeks ago. That world was my life, not just a dream. Then I blinked and my scenery changed.
Within minutes, my lunch time mecca lies before me. A lush lime green expanse of grass amongst old wise trees deeply rooted in the earth whilst reaching for blue heaven above. This very sight makes me want to take off my shoes and socks and feel the blades tickle and crumple underfoot. I want to lie down, arms outstretched and embrace the magnificent earth below. I want to dance from tree to tree, wrapping my arms around their thick, smooth trunks, cheek to tree, feeling their wisdom, their strength.
Here it is not busy. Workers sit and lie on the grass in small groups or in solitude, eating lunch, talking quietly, stretching and sometimes exercising. Despite the rush of city traffic circling its perimeter, nature ensures that within its domain, all is calm, all is peace. It cradles the often tired and weary workers and breathes energy into their souls so they can continue through the day.
I don’t hate my life here and despite it’s artificiality, I don’t hate the city. But I feel boxed in, contained by tall buildings, office walls, working hours and the whole Monday to Friday regime when all I want to feel is free. I close my eyes and breathe in a long slow breath and instantly I’m taken back to my island paradise. I can feel the immense ocean around me. I feel supported and warm and free. My arms and legs are stretched out and I move through space and time by simply breathing in and out, I can fly. There is no weight, no heaviness, no restrictions. I feel my own depth just being in the ocean’s depth. I keep my eyes closed long enough, holding onto this feeling so that when I open my eyes again to the busyness of this city’s business, I still feel it with me.
Lunch is over. And along with others, I walk back towards my office in a concrete and glass tower which teases me with views of the sea. This is my life right now, the result of choices I have made. Still, my longing for freedom remains. Although soon, I will know it once more, as I pack my bags and head to the other side of the globe, my longing is deeper than this. I want to know a freedom that is not reliant on travel for gratification. I want to know freedom in an everyday life.