This morning I could feel the bars around me when I woke up, from the cool grey sky dribbling onto the ground through the shades as my alarm was going off to the dully lit streets as they passed by the windows of the bus to the elevator that's in the building where I work. From one box to another to another to another to another.

At least some have windows ...

But what use is a view when it's through bars? What use is the sight of the sun on the leaves when it's through a pane of glass that feels like one long bar itself? When you're trapped in one cell after another, what does the scenery really matter? When you're trapped in a cell you bring with you, does it matter where you are?

Maybe it's better if you can't SEE the bars ...

That's what I think some mornings when the bars are so clear around me. When every wall turns into bars keeping me closed in, keeping my thoughts in line inside the approved limits of the cell I'm in. That's what I think during the times when I can see the cage everyone is bringing with them, surrounding them as they go off to work, go shopping, go to the bar for a bite and a drink. When I can SEE the bars, SEE the cages enclosing everyone (even me), SEE the baggage people carry around with them and that colors how they see the rest of us, I wonder...

Can anyone ELSE see the bars? Or is it just me?

Or am I even seeing the bars at all? Are the bars REALLY there, or is it just because it's a rainy day and those always get me a little down? If it's all in my head, is it all JUST in my head or can other people see it too? If other people CAN see it, have they thought about getting out of the cage, opening the bars? Or are they so conditioned that they think the bars are SUPPOSED to be there?

Did we ever see the bars as they were being put around us?

When we were growing up, learning from our friends, the adults that taught us (intentionally and unintentionally), and anything and everything else, did we put the bars up ourselves? Did they, did WE give us the bars to weld in place? Did they know it was happening? Did they WANT to know? Did WE want to know? Or did we just put the bars up because we saw them around the people we were learning from and just wanted to fit in, to get along? Or were we born in the cell and didn't know any better until it was too late?

Seems like the bars were always around me, and I never even thought they were keeping me in.

After all, the bars seem like they've always been there, the cool iron taking on a comforting familiarity after enough time. Sometimes I had a bigger cell where the bars felt far, far away, other times I needed my cell small and tight to keep things OUT as much as the bars were keeping me IN. At least I've been able to change the cell once in a while, right?