It’s about time for us to leave our fortresses and return to life

Published 6:01 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Before I begin this week’s column, I’d like to say “thank you” to the reader who sent me two Gold Brick eggs for Easter. They are much appreciated and it was very nice of you to send them.

Now on with the sermon.

I was eating lunch Monday and listening to tunes from the music app Pandora when a song by Simon and Garfunkel came over the air. I believe it may sum up the feelings of many who are now sheltering in place to avoid contracting COVID-19.

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“I Am a Rock” is about a person who apparently is a loner — a person who maybe has no friends and doesn’t seem interested in having any. But it wasn’t the overall theme of the song that struck me about the sheltering in place. It was the phrase “I’ve built walls; a fortress deep and mighty that none may penetrate.”

As many of us sit at home, whether in a house or apartment or mobile home, we are all in our fortresses. Those of us who are out working go through the day tempting fate, as it were, that we don’t contract the virus and may worry if we’re doing everything to protect ourselves.

But when we get home, in our minds we are safe; we’re in our fortress among family. We’re in familiar surroundings and protected, we hope, from the virus. We may feel we’re in that fortress alluded to in the song, and I wonder, when all this is over and we are again free and able to walk among our fellow man, how will we react?

Since February, we’ve been told to avoid physical contact with others; to stand 6 feet apart; hard things to do, since we humans are for the most part social beings who like to have contact with others.

As with any emergency, there is always talk that restrictions put on us by those in authority will soon be lifted and we can resume our lives. Maybe not as we had in the past, but definitely better than sitting in our forts and hoping the wave of trouble that forced us inside for such a long time will pass.

One thing I hope is that we will return as the social beings we were before the virus forced us to change some of our habits, maybe a little more cautious perhaps, because, as some experts say, just like the flu and allergies, COVID-19 will be with us from now on. Hopefully, medical science will develop a vaccine to protect us from future outbreaks.

I hope for all this, because like the majority of us I’m ready for this to end. I want to be able to walk in a book store full of other people and read through books in my favorite subject areas. I want to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with 102,000 screaming fans at an LSU football game in Tiger Stadium, and in October I want to listen to groups playing jazz at the Alcorn State Jazz Festival.

Spring is here, and it’s time we leave our fortresses and return to life.


John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at