Friday, 20 January 2017

Territory

View from one of the streets during an evening walk in MY neighbourhood.

I have hung a bird feeder under the eaves of the roof on a corner of the deck that can be seen from the couches of our living room. The tuis visit it most obligingly and satisfactorily, but there is a problem. It seems that our deck is now a very desirable piece of tui real estate, and at sunrise several of them have taken to staging quite heated discussions about its ownership. Tui song is a beautiful sound, and I was thrilled the first time, but sunrise South of the 45th parallel is before 5 am these days and they are loud.

As early risers the tuis are only slightly more Trappist than the blackbirds who take up duties pretty much immediately after the tuis leave off. The blackbirds really appreciate the efforts Clemency has been putting into the garden since her retirement, what with the recent explosion in the worm population and everything, and they too have some unresolved ownership issues concerning our back yard. And then there's the possums. They have a sort of chattery call as they discuss the grazing rights to the roses, generally around 1 A.M. .

I got a kindly email from the Anglican Church Pension Board yesterday. We have, Yippee!, only one more payment to make on the mortgage and then we will own our place, all 1250 square metres of it, even if we have only the vaguest of notions of where our Southern boundary actually lies.

So here we have all these overlapping ownerships: us, the tuis, the blackbirds and possums, and who knows? no doubt the bellbirds and sparrows and the local cats and goodness knows what else besides, all fiercely defended and policed. All of these ownerships are pretty much invisible and irrelevant to all the others, but are recognised and subscribed to by those whose DNA makes them relevant. All of these ownerships are part of the holders' sense of self and place. And all are equally illusory. Don't make any mistake, if  you try and cash in on the fictitious nature of my soon to be acquired freehold by moving in, I will employ the services of all the others who subscribe to this particular shared fiction to make sure you are in trouble. But spiritually I am in trouble myself if I believe that it has any lasting veracity or worth, or if I let it define who or what I am.


1 comment:

Alden Smith said...

Congratulations on exercising the Cardinal virtue of Prudence (practical common sense). We are finding a retirement freehold home in our modest financial retirement situation means more options on many levels.
You can now exercise the other virtues - Temperance; (don't re-mortgage the house to buy a bright red retirement Ferrari) - Justice; (don't publish post retirement photos of flash gardens on your blog unless YOU have actually helped Clemency in said garden) and - Fortitude; put up with the noise of the fauna that allow you to share their land; they (even the Possums) were there a long time before you were.