Yesterday Mark cut down a few trees in our yard. You see, we want to put our garden in the back of the stretch of yard up there, in front of the big cedar. In order to get some light into the yard and to keep the trees from dropping so much vegetation into the pool, these trees had to go. In particular the holly forest growing on the right, rear corner of the pool.
Cutting these trees did a couple of wonderful things for us: some of the brush from the cut trees provided a brush shelter for our ruminants; the logs will provide lumber for a new kitchen table and logs for our fireplace. If we had cut these trees when they were saplings there would have been no use for them at all.
Apparently the noise of the chain saw bothered one of our neighbors who looked out a window and decided to call the police on us. The police came and informed us that permits must be obtained before any trees can be cut along the shoreline. We had no idea. We also have no idea who this neighbor is. What I do know is that the neighbor should have walked over and spoken to Mark rather than calling the law.
What ever happened to good neighbors? To a sense of community? To lending a helping hand and mutual consideration in an effort to live peacefully together? I just don’t get it. Mostly what I don’t get is why be an asshole when you have alternatives?
For years now I have sought out the community of like-minded people but I must still live in the society of people whose minds are a mysterious wasteland of apparent bad feelings and malcontent. What do I do about and with them?
One friend suggested putting on a nice June Cleaver outfit and taking brownies to them. I considered this approach but run into road blocks. For one, I don’t who called though I do have damned good idea. Two, if I did that I would have to thank them for calling the po-po on us and thereby enlightening us regarding the wetlands buffer zone. Three, we live on a river and are well-aware that the wetlands need protection but we also need to live on our land, and we like to live close. We have managed to repopulate the oyster beds in our little crook of river, for example, but we need firewood and sunlight for our garden. If our land can provide this, why would, no, why should we have to have it trucked in? (Imagine trucked in sunlight!)
So back to this community building thing…I’m trying to build community with people who think like I do but I also really have to build community with those who live around us and who do not think like we do. These are also people whose default setting is to do something mean when given the opportunity, to call the police rather than have a conversation. How do I build community with them?