"I have thought upon the concept of 'freedom' many times over the past three years, especially since I was diagnosed with a terminal illness that often confines me to the house because of my absence of an effective immune system. Indeed, I'm presently on my third week of fighting off pneumonia and have been strictly advised not to interact with people, receive any visitors and not talk because of my bad chest and proneness to cough and cough if I speak even a few words. Yesterday, I think I may have come to the peak of this episode. My body was so tired and weak that I went to bed at 5pm and didn't get up until 10am this morning.
When I saw the above photo, I thought, 'What wouldn't I give just to be able to wallow in a field of greenery for a mere five minutes and breathe the essence of Nature's nectar, produced by the lungs of God.'
We are now in the month of March and fast approaching spring. I know that many of you will be half planning the prospects of a summer holiday in the warm months of June, July and August to sandy beaches and sunnier climates. Do you know that were I able to choose where I would like to be and see the things I would love to see over the coming months, not one of those exotic or scenic countries across the world would be on my list of five greatest pleasures.
My first ideal trip would be to walk through the woods and meadows in spring at the break of dawn and to be intoxicated by the sounds and smells of woodland creatures in their natural habitat. Second, I would love to be able to walk across the wild moorland filled with grouse and heather and to drink cool clear water from a pure stream; every now and then seeing a hare scurry for cover. Third, I would love to have the strength to climb one of the Lakeland Fells that Albert Wainwright beautifully documentated, perhaps the highest fell of all; Scarfell Pike and have tea while looking off the top of it to the captivating countryside below. Fourth, I would love to be able to sit in the saddle of swift steed and to trot, canter and then gallop into the wind for at least one last exhilarating time. Finally, I would love to be able to walk half a mile from the house in Portlaw, County Waterford where I was born down to the bottom of the street, across the bridge that forever lives in my memory and has featured inso many of my books, up the steep hill to the church at the top where I was baptised and then across the road to the chuch graveyard where my grandparents lie and where my ashes will also rest after my passing.
All the other places and experiences in the world I would gladly forgo, if only I was no longer house prisoner to my condition and could do these things with my dear wife, Sheila. So if you don't have the money for a holiday this year, think of five simplier pleasures that will delight as much and won't cost you the earth to experience." William Forde: March 12th, 2015.