Monday, March 29, 2010

"We can all just share it."

"...wherever there is stillness there is a still small voice, God speaking from the whirlwind, nature's old song and dance, the show we drove from our town." –Annie Dillard

Every time I drive out to Bells Bend I feel like I’m driving into another world. In a matter of minutes, the scenery changes from buildings and highway to pastures and twisting oak trees. Miles and miles of open space and open air. You could get lost in it just by looking for too long if you're not careful.

As we drove down the winding road with the windows rolled down passing farms, houses, streams and hills I couldn’t help feel that cliché sense of peace begin to fill me up. It may be quaint, but it’s the truth. We pulled into the driveway of Kevin and Molly’s property around 1:00. I still do not know their last name, just that they’re good people who are allowing Fletcher to live in the small house to raise chickens and grow vegetables on the property. On this particular day, a small group of folks from around the city were gathering to build a fence for a new garden. Now when I say garden, I don’t mean a small square piece of soil in a backyard and when I say fence, I don’t mean one of the white picket variety. This garden was about a half of an acre in size and the fence was going on twelve feet high. “A bit excessive!” you might say. Perhaps, but unfortunately deer like fresh produce just as much as we do and unfortunately they can jump quite a bit higher than we can. I like to think that the objective of the fence wasn’t so much to keep the deer out of the garden, but rather to help direct them to the other wonderful feasting opportunities held within the remaining thousand plus acres that surrounded us.

As we drove fencing posts, bolted them together, stretched long strips of fencing and otherwise had a grand ol’ time, a mother and her two daughters who lived in the neighboring house walked by. They had met Fletcher (who had just recently moved in) and came by to see what was going on. As I continued to methodically fasten the fencing to the posts, I listened to them chat about the garden and eventually the conversation moved to dogs. Fletcher has two huge, white, furry, friendly farm dogs that love to be included in conversations. As the two little girls played with the dogs, the mother mentioned that she had found them out of the yard earlier in the week and had brought them back. Fletcher apologized for the dogs (though it was evidently not a big deal). As the chatting continued about neighboring dogs, gardening and property, one of the girls (who looked to be about six) spoke up:

“This not our land or your land. We can all use it. We can all just share it.”

I had to stop what I was doing and just process that for a moment. I had to smile at the pure simplicity of the statement. Wisdom so often comes from those who you’d never expect to be so wise. In the eyes of this little girl, notions of property, land ownership and corrupted self-interest did not exist. “We can all just share it”. That was it. No need for property lines or fences. Why not? We all live next to each other and we all want to run around on it or play in the dirt. Why wouldn’t we share it?

Kids blow my mind.


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