I had a rough morning. I came out doors to find my neighbor had dug two grand holes in my front lawn and planted juniper shrubs awash in red dyed bark. I freaked.
I couldn’t fathom a person who just digs up another person’s yard. The boundaries are clear. He had to come across his cluttered driveway with a shovel, dig up my lawn!
I was indignant, but something else as well, sad, even frightened. This inexcusable act of intrusion set off a history of personal trespassing that sent me into a rage and then tears. I was a complete mess.
I have been mistaken for a blank canvas my whole life, created for others, it seems, to carry out their bidding, their ideas, their lifestyles, their personas of who I should be and how I should behave.
I am not you–or her, or him, or a symbol of my parents, this family, your ancestry. I am not here for you to live your lost life through, or follow in your footsteps. I am me and no one else.
I pulled up the dreadful plants. I hate junipers. They are the ugliest suburban blight plant I can think of. And so appropriately nestled with dyed red bark; good god. . .
Later, after I had cried and told myself that my reaction did not match the intrusion, that something grander and far deeper was going on than ugly junipers, I wrote him a letter.
His boundary issues are his. He has none–and isn’t that ironic that I live next door to him. He claims he thought he was adding something pretty. “You are a gardener,” he said. “What’s your problem?” There was no point in discussing it. He agreed to keep them out. I will repair the lawn and set my space back two feet to where it was.
I took Zephyr to the park after that. Laid on the grass, under a weeping tree and stared at the sky for a long while. We continued at home in the backyard, staring at the sky, sipping coffee, Z playing with his ball. I wanted to dig my body into the ground, grow roots like an old oak.
Staring at the sky eventually leads to rolling over and perusing the yard. Weeding ensued, then trimming, then planting. Planting is good. I want to erect a fence, a wall, steel girders, brick enforced, between me and the neighbor, but leaving it alone takes more courage. Saying the boundaries outloud and keeping them there are better. Return to planting.