Although my favorite choice for music genres isn’t cowboy songs, the first time I heard the song, “Don’t Fence Me In,” I bust a gut laughing.  It struck a very deep cord in my soul and I could feel the words expressing one of my deep inner desires.  I want to be free, to experience life on my terms, to meander over the land, think about life and write the stories I have always dreamed about.

However, on my quest for freedom and the writing life, inner voices usually scream at me;  you’ll never be good enoughyou’ll never get publishedyour friends and family will think you are crazy, they will hate what you write.  And, my life wasn’t the perfect picture I wanted yet.  I would love to live in the country or the woods, but live in the city.  I love to be free to write, but have felt overwhelmed by circumstances and the demands of life.

In addition, the wider culture seems to impose creative constriction, squeezing us so tight we can hardly breath. We are brainwashed at every turn with noise telling us what to think, to feel, and to buy.  It is killing our creativity and squashing our spirit.  How many more works of art, inventions, and scientific discoveries would be created if the loud voices of mediocrity and mass consumerism were not contributing to the demise of creativity and imagination? And, don’t get me started on the educational system geared towards testing outcomes!

Well, that’s enough insanity!

I have come to realize that freedom comes from within ourselves regardless of our life circumstances.  And, we CAN become more conscious and aware of the messages we receive from other people and our culture.   We can choose what to take in and what to disregard.  And, we can teach this to our children.  That is true freedom.

I have adopted the motto, “Don’t Fence Me In,” to remind myself to take risks, to do what is in my heart, and to expand my world when old habits take over.  It is also to remind myself NOT to build fences in my own life that constrict creativity and growth.  Finally, I want to be aware of the fences other people build that influence my life.

One of the most appealing aspects to this song is how easy-going the music and lyrics meander together.  It is relaxing just to sink into the feeling of the song, imagining long days out on the range with nothing to do but roam.  My favorite verse is:

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in.

Want to Hear the Song?

This is my favorite modern version with video by David Byrne The beat of Brazilian percussionists are the perfect addition.

A really cool modern version was done by Harry Connick Jr..

They use this song in a commercial for Nike Hockey It cracks me up!

An entertaining jazz version by Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton- Funny banter!

A classic version performed by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters.

Fun version with Bob Hope and the Muppets.

Goofy version done by Disney .

Lyrics to the song, “Don’t Fence Me In,” as sung by Bing Crosby

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,

Don’t fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don’t fence me in.

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don’t fence me in.

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies.
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in.

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies,
Don’t fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don’t fence me in.

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies
On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise.
Ba boo ba ba boo.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in.
No.
Papa, don’t you fence me in