We speak of freedom but really we all know there is no freedom for any of us. We are all the captives of our human state, bound hand and foot by custom and by Law. Perhaps that's why we are all so fascinated by wildlife. Up here in a fairly remote part of the north of Scotland we can see freedom in the slow soaring flight of an untagged golden eagle high above a mountain range. We can see it in the lordly step of a red deer stag caught in our headlights, in the unfrightened turn of his head. We can see it every day if we sit still enough and long enough and silently enough down by the rocky, roadless coastline. It's in the form of an otter or occasionally otters, sometimes hunting - once we saw close up an otter reappearing on the surface of the sea with an octopus firmly clamped around its head - and sometimes playing. We watched a family of otter pups ducking and rolling and diving and generally harassing each other and it is not possible to see such as this without a vague sense of joy and of envy for the freedom that once, long long ago, was ours as well. You know, before we bound ourselves with chains of gold?

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