This very minor incident happened a few weeks ago, but of course my mind loves to replay any situation that I am unable to resolve or evolve over an over and, well- you get it. So, Wade and I were on one of our frequent “laps around the block” which involves hilly forest trails, an empty McMansion neighborhood, 3 indifferent horses, a bunch of fabulous sheep, a jog on the road where the trail ends, and more hilly woods. We rarely see anyone, and if we do we are friendly and really happy because that’s who we are and it is so rare to see someone on this walk. On this particular day we encountered a few deer on the trail, they didn’t stop to say hi, but its hunting season so they need to be extra careful- I get that. However, this time of year every time we hear a rustle we look, hoping to see a fox or deer or god forbid a person who needed help or something. We’re mammals, isn’t it normal to be curious about what made the noise we hear? As we passed the sheep and approached the jogging on the road part of our journey, we heard a rustle coming from a ravine on our right side. So, we looked down into the ravine. We didn’t see anything, but something saw us. And she began to yell. “Stop! Don’t come any further, this is private property!” Whoa, we were on the side of the public road in broad daylight and walked a few feet onto a messy bank at the top of the ravine. The yelling lady was on the other side of the ravine at the top of a great big lawn in front of her house. We were so shocked, it took a few seconds for Wade to respond. “We were just walking and heard a noise in the ravine, I was just looking to see what it was!” he yelled back. “Its private property, back up and go away!” she returned. We kept walking absolutely stunned. And then we had to laugh about it. “Hey, I know you want to run down the side of that enormous, treacherous, unwelcoming ravine and run up the other side to that rude ladies green lawn, but its private property! Go away!” It became a running joke every time we walked by the ravine. “Look straight ahead no matter what! Don’t run into the treacherous awful ravine no matter how tempted you may be!” Every time we walked by the ravine, I thought of the lady yelling at us. What must she be thinking when she sees a middle aged couple in brightly colored outdoor gear walking along the road and decides she needs to yell? What does she think about on a regular basis that generates such a strong response to such a benign situation? What if she had been rustling around in the ravine in need of help and she had conditioned all good Samaritans to stay clear of her ravine? Once, some hikers and a dog got lost and walked down a trail to our house. We said hi, had some pleasant conversation, recommended a few trails, inquired if they had kids our sons age and that was it. We had a perfectly pleasant and civil reaction to a misunderstanding over an invisible property boundary. I keep thinking about why this woman’s first instinct was to yell. If I could speak to her, I would tell her that we are her neighbors. We walk the trail a lot and love to see animals along the way. I would tell her that if she or anyone else was in the ravine in need of help we would do everything we could to help. Even if we were on private property. I would tell her that I’m scared of lots of things too, but I try to react from a place of love instead of fear. Love is more powerful than fear. I’m sorry we frightened you, I love you. December 10, 2016
Community in different forms October 21, 2012
On a recent trip to New Mexico it struck me how community happened in many different forms. I observed four unique communities Taos Pueblo (ancient community), Earth Ships (future community), Abominable Snowmansion (freedom community) and Lama Foundation (spiritual community). Each was beautiful and unique.