The pandemic left every home a ‘den’


Image by Couleur from Pixabay


“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
– Jack Kerouac

Britain is supposed to preparing for the great release so it’s worth thinking about what we will be leaving behind. ‘1843’, which is ‘The Economist’s’ long-read magazine, recently explored how the pandemic had changed every home. It had made our living quarters the place to “cocoon”, it said. The new ethic is “New Cosy”.

Most of us, ‘1843’ argued, “have regressed into pupae, stuck in PJs and playpens. Our cultural life has almost flickered out. Last year’s design highlights feature white rooms with few books or paintings; no one has tickets to plays or concerts at the ready. In their place are the trappings of self-care – instruments for gentle exercises redolent of a hospice. There are stationary bikes and meditation cushions. Zones are demarcated for geriatric bodywork, which at least keeps the spirits up”.

It made me think about my own living circumstances last year.

Not quite PJs, playpens, stationary bikes and meditation cushions. Instead there were lots and lots of new books. Did they serve as a kind of meditation cushion?

Care was taken, at least once a day, to prepare a meal. Had the kitchen become an adult, more sustaining version of a playpen?

And I watched the birds at the feeder with close attention from the kitchen. To commune with these tiny survivors seemed like a template for our times.

The whole house was, I suppose, a “den” of sorts, a bunker, a cave in which to retreat.