Why I’ll never stop hopping fences.

Over the weekend, I was confronted with a choice: go inside and join a group, or hop a fence and be with nature.

I’d been invited to a gathering by a friend, and was *supposed* to be acting sociable. But I wasn’t in the mood, so I hid in the bathroom. A woman came in. Her name was Uma and she had pixie hair. She said she was going outside, did I want to join? We pushed open a heavy door. The afternoon air was fresh and warm and a grove of trees rustled just beyond a chain-link fence. We sat and talked in the sun, then reached through the fence to pick blackberries. 

More than once, someone asked us to come back inside. Our rebellion seemed to bug them. But I was ready to take it one step further. To me, a fence doesn’t represent a barrier, it begs a challenge. You might say I have a problem with authority. 

Yet, I didn’t want to disrespect the friend who’d brought me there, and I know group mentality comes from an essentially positive place of wanting to protect the tribe, so I just about relented and went back in. Then a cat ran out of the trees! A little tabby with bright green eyes! She stopped and stared at me, daring me to come play. And I thought, if I’m an artist then my whole m.o. should be defining myself as separate from the group, and other existential reasonings that boil down to this: I’m not a fucking joiner. I hopped the fence!

And spent a soul-satisfying, life-affirming afternoon with the trees. I picked more blackberries. I peed in the bushes. I laid in the grass, looked at the clouds and knew the truth: our human experience is as infinite as the moon’s daily pursuit of the sun. What I mean is, happiness isn’t reserved for some people, only some of the time. I tend to forget this. 

Uma didn’t hop the fence, she let me do my thang. The best teachers know when to let a wild one roam. As the sky shifted and I made my way back to The Fence, I found myself getting caught in brambles. When I looked up from tugging my clothes free, I saw a well-worn path illuminated by the sun, just a few feet away.

Sometimes we choose a more difficult road, but it only takes a moment to walk back in the light.