I so want to leave.

Kaunas Castle, c. 1350, Lithuania

It doesn’t matter where we might go, just get in the car or take a cheap flight to some place we’ve talked about visiting, like Nashville, Tennesee, or Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Such domestic destinations are apart from our desire to see the lochs and highlands of Scotland, the Dordogne in France, anywhere in Germany or St. Petersburg, Russia.

Or we might return to Lithuania; Lithuania is my happy place. I miss our friends and cousins. I miss everything about that lovely country.

Gedeminas’ Tower and the center of Old Vilnius from the Three Crosses

When people retire, they often muse on the opportunities golden years offer for travel. After all, they will have all that free time, few responsibilities and enough vigor still to navigate cobblestones and hike up hillsides.

We’re retired. We have the time. As for my Dear One and I, we’re not all that amply supplied with vigor but we have adequate amounts as long as we don’t set our sights on the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica or the Himalayas.

Our Reality

Yet we remain sheltered in place because COVID19 rates are spiking across the United States, largely because insufficient numbers of people have committed to wearing a mask and staying socially distanced—even if that means attending church via zoom, learning to cook or drinking at home. As a result, the European Union and Canada have sensibly locked us out from their shores. Even states where infection rates are abating have asked us to please to stay away. Most of the nation is a hot zone. Besides, where exactly would we safely eat and sleep if we left the safety of these precincts?

turn in the road, living in Teolo in the Euganean Hills

I am now–some five months into defensive mode with no end of danger in sight–tired of not having the option of varied horizons.

There is no one to blame for this novel corona virus, whatever the president, my brother and QAnon claim. There is, however, plenty of blame to spread around for the place we find ourselves now. I blame:

  • the Trump administration for its ongoing denial and mismanagement of the pandemic, for its inaction acquiring adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment and testing materials;
  • The president and his toadies for encouraging Americans to flout the recommendations of the CDC and the life-saving guidance of experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci;
  • the covidiots who think their twisted notion of “freedom” is more important than protecting the lives of the ill, the immunocompromised, the aged, and others vulnerable to the disease;
  • conspiracy groups like QAnon for disseminating lies and hate that inspire violence and lead to death-dealing “COVID parties;”
  • those who can’t grasp the fundamental truth that unless the virus is brought under control, educating our children, opening our colleges and universities, creating a broadly prosperous society, and quelling social unrest are simply pipe dreams.

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

The leaders of other countries, like Italy, South Korea, Finland and New Zealand, took prompt and decisive action. As residents masked up and stayed home, the worst of the pandemic came and went, and now their physical and economic recuperation proceeds apace. The “leadership” of this country meanwhile applied his substantial ignorance and busy Twitter thumbs to winning the COVID battle by ignoring its reality. He has entombed us in falsehoods. He wastes time on ad hominem attacks on anyone who voices disagreement on pretty much any subject at all. He makes life-threatening speculations about ingesting disinfectants and taking pharmaceuticals not known to help and positively known to hurt.

The View Doesn’t Change

Pont Alexandre III, Paris

So we are home. We are not planning to travel. We are not consulting our bucket list of museums we have not yet seen and gardens in which we might lose ourselves for an hour or two. We are not searching the web for perfect rentals where we might nest for a week or two. My reading list is not shaped by the places I will soon visit. I am not anticipating new culinary adventures. My wardrobe is not under assessment for its suitability to different climes and seasons.

One of Bernini’s Rivers, Piazza Navona, Rome

All I can do is leaf through my pictures from past excursions and hope that America can decide to beat this pandemic by the only means certain to beat it: masks, social distancing, hand-washing and a deaf ear to the moron in the White House.

It is, as of this writing, 99 days until I can cast my bright blue vote. I cannot wait, even if it means leaving home to exercise that right.