Thursday, January 31, 2008

40 km west of Jerramungup.

7:50 p.m. January 27th

This is my first night not paying for a strip of land to lay my swag. I am roughly 20 km from Boxwood Hill, about 75 feet from the highway, invisible (I hope) to the road. The wind howls, and I keep my ears open for cars on the road. I lay close to my mat when they pass. It is an old and strange feeling to lay your head down where you need to rest. It is a feeling I am glad to experience, yet one I am infinitely grateful not to have to do on a regular basis. I feel both liberated and entrapped. On the one hand, to lay my swag out where I need gives me a thrill of independence. It begs the question of what we really need to survive. On the other hand, I am skirting the laws of vagrancy, and I, by nature, like to follow the law. I look to my own prejudices. I find that I would be suspicious of someone who chooses to sleep by the side of the road. I think of my friend Ron, in my neighborhood in Wallingford, who is as much a part of the neighborhood as anyone with a house. He sleeps in his old Ford F-250 and panhandles in front of the QFC. He is always kind and easy to talk to. Finding a place to sleep every night is something he deals with every day. Yet here, this warm climate begs you to sleep outside. The sunset is amazing, and I am conflicted. I know I like fine things, yet looking up at the stars revealing themselves above me, I can think of nothing finer. It is a freedom built into our deep past, and yet we are now so removed from it in our modern world lives that we have outlawed it. I do worry about the unlikely chance of being found. I suppose I will deal with that if it comes. It is an apprehension I feel in my gut that contrasts with the peace I have looking at the sky, surrounded as it is by my own 6 gum trees for the night.

PS: An added bonus to this bush camp experience was riding in the evening which closely competes with the dawn. A flock of fluorescent green lorikeets following me from tree to tree for nearly two km in the still warm, but weakened, sun.

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