Lots of things have been free lately. Golden chanterelles gleaned from the forest floor by the hands and bent backs of myself and my friends haven't cost us a dime apart from the stretch of muscles and a keen eye. My time was free too. Eeking out the last joys of summer before a return to work and enjoyable responsibilities.
Berries too have enlivened desserts and cereals lately with no struggle on my wallet. Nothing but a bit of graft and some blue fingers and blue tongues were sacrificed in the harvesting of some of nature's sweetest gifts. I got a free workout too. No gym membership paid. Tatty trail runners and some walking or pedaling was all the equipment required. That, and a recycled peanut butter jar.
There have been other things I've enjoyed for minimal or zero fiscal outlay recently. Cheap thrills through hard earned downhills, the good times of shared experiences, wind and bugs in my hair, tear-welling sunsets and the occasional bloody shin. I've had free lessons in patience and understanding and free furniture from helpful friends. No queuing up. No raiding the piggy bank. No waiting-room number taken or card number given. But the nights draw in and soon we will have to squirrel away some treats for the winter coming. Until then, linger, savour and enjoy. Free is the magic number.