Originally posted on the Journal pages of Active Yoga on Tuesday, February 26, 2008
This post is resurrected in honor of the folks who now want to subdivide the land behind my house. Trees will die and the earth will be blasted. Some will win, some will lose. But I think we might all be losers.
Around the bend and at the top of the hill is a cross street that dead ends at two old stone columns and a massive iron gate that is wide open across a dirt road.
The name of the five acre estate long gone is carved on the stones and long as I’ve been here until this fall, the place remained untouched.It’s a small street like many around here and people get to know their neighbors. The houses are simple and melt into the woods. They sit on an acre or two. The prize is privacy. The street lights are spotty and there’s no reason to be here unless you live here so at night it’s quite dark and very quiet and we like it like that.
Fran lives at the end of that road with only five acres of that long abandoned land that Radnor Lake could not afford to buy, between her and the forest. I got to know her by walking past her house because that dirt road was one of my walks into the woods. I got to know every inch of that five acres and more on my explorations over the years. I left not much of a footprint. I felt like it was kin.
I knew it wasn’t but I was as bummed as the immediate neighbors to hear that the land had been sold and waited hopefully to see some tree huggers move in. Alas, in came the dynamite, the tree cutters, the earth movers and a foundation poured to raise Tara. I wandered up there weekly and watched the landscape change. Then I met the builders who said it was fine if I visited and I got to crawl around the many levels and watch the lives of strangers unfold.
It was horrifying. The ugly red brick retaining wall was monstrous. It had to be to stay the wooded hillside beyond it. Not one window of the house took advantage of the spectacular views. I was told it was built for a family of five and surely they would need walky-talkies to find each other. No sense of the life around it; this house felt like the anti-earth.
Then the no trespassing signs went up. They were yellow. I saw them but I ignored them because I had been invited by the builders: Until the owner appeared. She saw me coming up the road and rushed toward me telling me loudly that there were No trespassing signs and please would I leave. I immediately disliked her; the way she looked, her voice, her officiousness but I gave it a shot and smiled and introduced myself as one of her neighbors and a great fan of her property for many years. She said, yes the neighbors had been interested in the place and she would let all of us up there to see it when it was done but for now we had to stay off her property. (I have never seen the place again but from a distance behind new and closed iron gates.)
I watched them rig the electricity for the place and saw the tall poles set with spot lights that would shine mightily into Fran’s front windows and I don’t know what else was going on but those guys had been tearing down trees and rigging new poles for weeks.
Then came red and black don’t signs posted along the drive which say No Parking which is pretty weird because it’s a wide long driveway that has to allow for the tonnage of dozens of working vehicles.
I wonder if these folks know how many gun carrying poachers creep around the woods behind them murdering innocent creatures in the night. Now if the signs kept those guys away, that would be something.Meanwhile I have a suggestion for a new carving in those two stone pillars:
TROPHY FOR THE POWERFUL
TESTIMENT TO BAD TASTE
ASSAULT THE EARTH
ASSAULT THE EARTH
Welcome to the neighborhood and as they say in Nashville, “Now y’all go home”.