Freedom and Rightness

I moved Sky yesterday. It was stressful. It was worth it. Sky moved from an uppity stable where she was relegated to her stall 16 hours a day and a muddy paddock the other 8 to a warm facility where she has a pasture of her own morning till dusk and a stall the rest of the time. The monthly board is the same at each facility. It’s not perfect, but sometimes imperfect situations feel like something elevated beyond perfection. That’s called art, or beauty or rightness.

Turn up your volume and watch this video of Sky finding her way around her new digs this morning. She’s calling as if looking for reassurance or just excited and overwhelmed by the space. Like, “Is this for real? What should I do?” The space appears to be amazing her. Isn’t that how horses should live? I could have watched her all morning.

 

She has been cooped up for awhile. We all can get to feeling that way, in physical or psychological ways. Recently our country, our home the United States, has been experiencing growing pains which are related to the flexing out and maturity of freedom. After all we live in a young State, only 241 years old.

Freedom can be misleading because no one can have total freedom without hurting themselves or others. If Sky had total freedom she’d be in the next county but would probably be terrified and run through barbed wire fences or who knows what. Human freedoms are necessarily bordered off from the needs of others. We protect what we love and prevent what we don’t love from entering into our space.

A situation that embodies “rightness”, like Sky’s new living arrangements is, I think, the closest thing to freedom. Fences are present and so are spacious liberties. No one and nothing is neglected. Events pass organically, not controlled by superficial limitations and manufactured expectations.

The notion of rightness contrasts starkly with “righteousness”. Righteousness is a generated pride that does not actually permit freedom. To do so threatens righteousness’s perceived territory. Righteousness perceives territory as entirely it’s own, not belonging to any others. Sadly this is in direct contradiction with freedom, which above all makes space for everyone. Currently in our country we have an excess of righteousness on both sides of the fence. We are running ourselves into a situation not unlike Sky’s previous stable: small spaces, muddy paddocks, pastures grazed down to the dirt. Instead of asking how we can rearrange the political environment we’re just trying to tighten pressure on the public.

By now I hope you see that I value safe surroundings. For Sky, I wouldn’t allow her to be enclosed by barbed wire for example. But I believe her new pasture on a hill will help her build strength and confidence on uneven ground. In a similar way, freedom shouldn’t be upheld with a threat of pain or punishment, but should have the footings of reality and sometimes, a challenge.

Here she is again, my girl Sky. She really loves that grass. I’m off to pull her off of it in a bit, though, because she’s still getting accustomed to it after a weaning period on only hay. As most horse people know, there can be too much of a good thing.

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