By Naomi Whittingham in A Life Hidden.
There is an indescribable joy in experiencing the outside world after many months or years of incarceration. The dance of sunlight through the leaves of trees; the flicker of shadows on grass; the touch of a gentle breeze. When darkness and isolation have been the foundation of life, these simple experiences are cherished. There can even be beauty in less obvious places: I have felt wonder on seeing things like traffic lights and motorway signs. To the housebound eye, these sights are the pulse of a living, active world. As such, my heart seizes them.
Improvement – whether in the form of a fleeting better day or more sustained progress – allows the partial rediscovery of a world long denied. (I use the word rediscovery in a very loose sense: I speak not of true freedom from the prison cell, but more of a peeping through the bars.) There is joy in this rediscovery, but there can also be grief. For it is perhaps only in glimpsing the world again that one truly knows the deprivation of being shut away from it.
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