Wednesday, November 19, 2008
"I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate."
-Vincent van Gogh
"They ought to have known better," was Mater's claim regarding the recent escapade of the gerbils she was supposed to be looking after.
"But you left a door open!" I countered, defending those poor fellows as best I could.
Mater was insistent: "they should have known not to leave the cage."
I stood firm.
The gerbils had been sure of only a few things in their lives: food, water, each other, and the walls that enclosed them all.
Then Mater came along and took away one of their walls.
They did not suspect that they had entered a prohibited zone; did not, I wager, devote too much time to wondering about why and how their running space had all of a sudden expanded. They were carrying out their usual routine and all of a sudden found themselves astray between the imposing legs of gigantic furniture, their familiar plastic toys nowhere in sight. They left the remaining siblings behind in the second, secured cage; they were separated from family members that could not accompany them on the long, bewildering journey around the room.
Yes, Mater took away their walls, their sanctuary, obscured the rules and erased the boundaries they were forbidden to cross.
I started to take local buses recently, and I know all too well what it means to err, to miss one bramble-covered stop sign and find oneself in places unexpected and unplanned, stranded and confused, wondering how to get back again. And, quite unlike the gerbils, I do not have to do battle with enormous chairs and towering tables.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 8:59 AM