It's cold outside.


For the first time in a long while, the chilly morning air nips at my fingers and my lips and my lungs. Early morning sunlight forms a brilliant, blue and gold swash against a sea of low hanging clouds. Save for the occasional voices of groggy students, their trainers beating in rhythm against the clay track, I am alone in the brisk, breezy air.


A solitary jaybird cries in the distance and, for a moment, I can feel its loneliness. This is not a solitude of sadness or ennui, but one of quiet introspection. While he rarely shares companionship with his winged brethren, he is feared and misunderstood; the songbirds flee whenever he approaches. In my short, fleeting life, I have grown to admire the ways of the jaybird, his solitary contemplation and reverence. What he cannot take by force, he takes by cunning and guile. No seed escapes his black, hooked beak.


But I cannot be the free spirit I yearn to be. I cannot share the unbound liberty of the jaybird, at least not now, for instead of flitting silently through an ancient wood, I am sitting upon a cold, metal bench, waiting for the school bell to toll. Oh! What I'd do for a hot cup of coffee on this shivering fall morn, an earthy mug of inspiration and vitality. Alas, I am condemned to stay, to accept instruction and shape myself for the future, regardless of its impact on the present. Yes, the endless orations of a thousand disenchanted educators fill the space in which I should be educating myself, allowing my body, mind and soul to run free.


I want to trample fallen leaves on cloven hooves, to bathe in icy springs and roast wild partridge over a crackling fire. I want my only worry to be the size of my woodpile and the bread in my cupboard. Free of coercion, of government and tyranny, I would be a man truly governed by whims alone. I yearn for these things because it is the responsibility of every man to strive for absolute freedom, for a return to a simpler life in which one chose his own path.


But, until the frost sits upon the amber leaves, until the first delicate snowflakes fall, I will remain and I will obey.


It is certainly cold outside this morning, but not nearly cold enough.

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