Jan Miller | Jun 24, 2020

Things are starting to reopen in the Covid-19 World. Dick and I went into quarantine upon returning home from Mexico mid-March. As in our early years of life we were kept separate from the world, protected in our cocoon. To be fair, our community was also protecting itself from us. Nevertheless, we were in a bubble much like an infant with all our basic needs met so we would stay put. Then we moved into self-isolation, warned to stay close to home -- “don’t talk to strangers.” As a young child, I not only accepted this dictum but downloaded it directly into my brain. Not my fault, because the critical thinking part of the brain was not operational yet. All those messages before the age of seven became firmly established. In stressful times, those downloads, our unconscious programs, still light up. This time the old message helped me adapt. Dick and I rarely went out or saw anyone in person except our protectors, who dropped off our food, medications, and mail. I found I might be a more natural recluse than I imagined. I’ve led a busy life so assumed I like busyness and people … Hmm.

Our children say, “Stay home. We want you to be safe.” This is not a new message. I remember my teacher in our one-room school Miss Bramhill lived through the Great Depression and warned of the dangers near the railway tracks. Tramps travelled there, and who knew what they would do to children. Later we watched a horrifying movie about nuclear bombs and how to hide under our desks for protection. As a young mother I watched my children like a hawk to make sure they were not kidnapped. Now I add Covid-19 to my list of potential threats. I’m grateful for my bubble.

Wait, they’re talking of loosening the restrictions and sending us out into the world to take care of ourselves. They still want us to be careful. It’s like those teenage years when it was time to leave home. I have to confess I was one of those adolescents who dragged my heels. I wanted this new adventure, but at the same time I was afraid of what was out there. Some of my friends couldn’t wait. They leapt into the void, like those 10,000 people who turned up in Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, flouting the warnings about the dangers. They felt invincible. But I’m leaving home the way I did the first time, those many years ago. The support is being withdrawn, and the inevitable will soon be upon me. Do I have to go? Yes! It’s time to grow up and leave home.

My sister-in-law sends masks to keep others and ourselves safe. We prepare to go out and forage for our own food. We put on our masks and pack up the wipes. I’m ready. I look at Dick and then I realize it’s going to be hard to recognize the strangers and tramps. We all look like masked bandits now.

Jan Miller is a three-time author. Her books are available in Nicole’s Gifts in Verona, Trousdales in Sydenham, Novel Idea in Kingston, Books and Company in Picton, and on Amazon.ca.

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