I have enforced confinements on my mind. No, patient Reader, I do not mean prisons. I just mean being limited to one's own habitat, the way a cat is confined to her cage or home "for her own good." We do not think twice before enforcing our beloved pets and snatching their skies from them. However, we have a serious problem when such a circumstance is visited upon us.
One of the many lessons that COVID-19 has taught me has been my awareness of this confinement. On the one hand, I am grateful for the security my home affords me. I am essentially enclosed in a glass square, that is in turn surrounded by a netting, so no cooties may enter my air. Yes! Our advanced species has learned to own not just the earth but also the air. I am urged to regularly spray all surfaces with chemicals that make my cat sneeze but which keeps me safe. If I am forced out of my house to forage for fresh foods, I find myself wishing for my glass bubble, as no amount of masks and gloves make me feel protected. I smear no-rinse soap on my hands after touching anything in the store. Then, my foraging done, I again smear some more soap after ridding my fingers of gloves until I can reach my cage and wash my hands properly.
As time goes by, I amaze myself as I come to rely on my confinement. It becomes my territory, my landscape. There have been days, even weeks when I have not left my home and I do not feel deprived.
I wonder if our animals and birds begin to feel this way. Once used to their cage, will they ever feel safe enough to wander out under the open skies?
However, I do know the answer to this, more is the pity.
I have missed the betrothal that I could not have countenanced missing, ever. In no actual or alternate reality had I imagined missing this event, provided I was alive. I would not have missed my cage, had I been allowed to attend this celebration.
I have also just begged off a Thanksgiving invitation from some of my favorite people, much to my intense disappointment and theirs. I have been sad about this but I cannot fight something I cannot even see, a virus. These days, I really hate the CDC and their recommendations. These recommendations are mandates for the immunity compromised, like me, who have had a transplant less than a year ago, I think it is strange that I feel so well, better than I have in a decade, and yet I have to treat myself as though I am still fragile. It is most distressing. Yes, we will Zoom. But I so wanted to go meet everyone in real life! I find that there is really no substitute. My cage, today, does not feel as safe as it feels like shackles.
It is also a known fact that once a cat is an outdoors cat, he can never be trained to be an indoors cat; however, the opposite is never true. An indoors cat, after a few days of apprehension, can easily get used to being an outdoors cat.
Everyone around me sighs and longs for things to go back to "normal." I do not doubt that we will, like our confined pets set free, take to the outdoors with more ferocity and enthusiasm than ever before. After all, we will have paid a steep price for these freedoms.
I doubt that we will ever again take the skies for granted again.