Thursday, April 05, 2012

Something There Is That Doesn't Love a Wall.

On this sunny but breezy Wednesday my snail mail consists of two items. Both are thrilling opportunities. Each is quite different; one is a gift and the other is request for a gift. Diametrically opposed, both offer an opportunity to make a difference. Guess I do spend some time every day finding patterns in life — Seems like a good way to wax through retirement.

The first item is a catalogue along with a personal letter from Paul at Burke County Soil Conservation District. Let me explain.

Because we are in the eastern edge of North Dakota's OIL PATCH, our little town is about to be inundated with development. Housing for the approximately 3000 new folks who will soon or are already arrived in our county is limited. As a result many of the empty lots in town will be purchased at inflated prices and work will begin on mobile home or modular home installation.

I'm more than a little selfish and elitist about my prairie home, I'm told. We live on Stoney Run, a waterway about 300 yards wide and several miles long. Our waterway and its shores are home to muskrats, mallards, wood ducks, Canada Geese, coots, and various and sundry other prairie bird life as well as to raccoon, porcupine, fox, deer, moose, and I'm told a black bear wandered across our back garden this past winter.

My point is that we live in paradise. Development will incur its nasty noise, dust, and clutter into our world. In order to keep some of that impact away from our corner of this magnificent space, I want to grow a natural barrier between us and the tree filled lot which will soon be under development to the east.

And what to my wondering self should manifest but news that the Burke County Soil Conservation District sells trees - Russian Olives, Lilacs, Crabapples, Dogwood, Currant, Plum, Maples, Ash, Cottonwoods, Siberian Elms, Populars, Walnuts, Ponderosa and Scotch Pines, Eastern Red Cedar, etc etc catch this..for $2 a tree.

Now, all I have to do is decide which wonderments to plant, pay this small fee, dig some holes, and watch nature provide a beautiful hedge along the eastern edge of our property..

Life is good!

And the second item in my snail mail?

The 1999 Nobel Peace Prize winning organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres has asked for a donation.

I swear tears return to my eyes as I type these words. My life has been dottiecentric for the past few years. I have contributed so little to this planet and here in one mail delivery two amazing opportunities arise—a chance to make a difference in such varied ways.

So, the money I won't be spending on an eight foot high wooden wall because I will be planting natures best border at $2 a plant, a living display of spring time 'gold', summer foiliage, autumn color, and winter rest, I will send off to those who donate their time and energy to heal humans on our planet who have the least and are in need of succor and food and vaccine the most.

'He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?
* * *
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down'

Mending Wall, Robert Frost