freedom, liberty and the preservation of both

For this July 4 weekend, known in the United States as "Independence Day" (commemorating the date that the first signature was added to the "Declaration of Independence"), I would like to contemplate the meaning of liberty and freedom.

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- John Philpot Curran, 1790

This is not a warning against foreign incursion, but rather a reminder that if you become complacent regarding the actions and intentions of your government you could find yourself under the thumb of an oppressive, native regime.

Our "War on Terror" comes to mind. Liberties curtailed, racial profiling (which is nothing new anyway), spying on private citizens, surveillance cameras and more.

The United Kingdom has gone much further with the cameras than the United States and, from what I have heard, also have other highly restrictive and intrusive methods in place.

OK. Enough of the political angle. There are other issues of freedom and liberty that come to mind, right here at our house - good things.

I decided today that, with our dogs' impending trip to the pound, they should get a taste of freedom before they (presumably) get put down. The exit from the pool cage is propped open now so they can wander freely. They know where home is.

Most of this afternoon was spent on a ladder. Perhaps not nationwide, but for me. It was an elevating experience (pun intended). I took Rocky out into the yard along with a bow saw, limb loppers and of course a ladder. Let the boy run where he pleased and propped the ladder against the top of the pool cage to cut back limbs that encroached upon the cage. Most were small but on the east side there was a long one, about three inches in diameter.

That big boy concerned me. I didn't want it to crash down and damage the screen, so I cut a notch in the top and kept going straight down from there. Once I reached a critical point, the wood started cracking and ever so slowly bending down. When it stopped crackling I ran the saw through a little bit at a time. After each cut there was more crackling. This process continued for a long time - it's not like I had somewhere else to go - as I let gravity do most of the work. The limb settled oh-so-gradually onto the top of the cage. At last it crackled no more, so I cut the rest of the way through.

So, the day went well. I got a lot done and feel good about that.

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