Soft, smooth, silky rope binding one’s body to a cozy chair—despite a sensation of luxury—is like a prison, albeit a momentarily pleasant prison. But prisons, even those resembling spas, restrict freedom. Living a life of luxury, with every desire but one—freedom—readily satisfied cannot disguise the realities of confinement. The most comfortable cage is still a cage. The most painful cages are those we construct around ourselves, preventing us from free movement. We think we always will retain the keys to those self-built cages until, one day, we realize the keys have disappeared and the locks have been welded; permanently sealed. Some of us find ourselves imprisoned early. Others remain free well into old age, before willingly locking themselves away. A few sprint away before the cell slams shut. The sprinters sometimes try to warn the rest of us, but we are too enamored of silk to pay heed. We hear the key turn in the lock’s cylinder, but pretend the sound is music, rather than an emergency siren urging us to get out while we still can.


Mortgages regularly are sold. Both buyers and sellers tend to say the sale of mortgages amounts to the mortgage being “serviced” by a different institution. That is, your mortgage payment will go to someone else. Our mortgage recently has been acquired by a different institution. Nothing will change, the notification said; your automatic payment will simply be paid to a different bank. Except, I noticed a few days ago, the payment taken out by the new mortgage holder is well more than $200 greater than before. Today, I will attempt to contact the new mortgage holder to find out what gives. I suspect I will be told the escrow has been adjusted to reflect actual costs. In which case I will insist on evidence to support the contention. And I will ask why I was not notified in advance of the larger withdrawal. Fortunately, the money was available to be withdrawn; but I suspect many people live considerably closer to the financial edge. I prefer outright ownership, without a mortgage holder. I realize, of course, mortgages offer considerable financial flexibility, even if one is able to pay cash for one’s home. But, still…life as a recluse, without engagement with heartless institutions, holds substantial appeal.


Imagine life, two hundred years ago. When night falls, the cloudless sky is dark, except for millions of tiny white dots. The only sounds are the rustling of leaves in the trees, an occasional bird call…the distant howl of a wolf or coyote. And, perhaps, the crackle of the fire as logs transform into heat and smoke and ashes. Darkness signals time for sleep. Needed rest after a day’s work; work necessary to survive another day. Survival was not an abstract concept; it was, instead, a precise, defined objective.


I am ready to turn away from this blog for now. I cannot express thoughts that have no associated words. Gibberish is inadequate. Language does not tell the full story.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to Allegory

  1. Meg Koziar says:

    Right on, John.

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