“Even one voice can be heard loudly all over the world in this day and age.”
I enjoyed taking some time off from the blog to let my thoughts on a lot of topics percolate.
As I thought about what I would write in my first post back from the break, I heard a story on NPR about a single German word that describes the sensation of being alone with nature.
This post is about that word.
I recently moved into an office-space as I begin the process of a major expansion of my law firm.
I have been working out of a home office for 3 years, and am slightly jarred by the change. Each day, I stare out my office window, and look across the vast canyon of concrete that is Dallas’ North-Central Expressway. I cannot escape the dull roar of 8 lanes of traffic and the thousands of cars that pass by every minute.
On the far side of the highway is an open space – 5 acres, more or less – where the land has been left to “go wild”. A couple small mesquite trees poke out and offer shade; the tall prairie grasses that Dallas has worked hard to destroy for generations are starting to reclaim the land.
The more I stare at this tiny piece of Nature, the further I feel from it.
Our neighborhood is home to an urban coyote. She is harmless, and has lived in a den in the greenbelt behind our house for 3 years. She never bothers a soul, although every once in a while, she will appear along someone’s fence-line at sunrise. This year – for the first time in 3 years - she has a pup.
Two weeks ago, she appeared at the backyard fence of the little blond hottie with big boobs that is renting a house in the neighborhood. She wrote on our neighborhood Facebook Page about her fear of a coyote “that could leap 8 foot fences” (it can not) and that tore her beloved Calico House-Cat to shreds (it did not).
Within moments, the men of the neighborhood were tripping over themselves to protect the young woman (and avenge the cat she failed to protect). One nimrod even proposed a hunt – with guns in city limits – to track and kill the demon beast.
What bothered me most was that I was not surprised by the reaction of these “neighbors”. So few people here have values similar to ours; it is increasingly difficult to live in a neighborhood that promotes the values of a culture Momma Bird and I rail against.
About the same time, in one of the plain-jane suburbs of Dallas, a local urban farm was raided by a S.W.A.T. team.
The news declared that marijuana was reportedly growing in their backyard, justifying the raid. The real story appears to have more to do with the disgruntled neighbor, who felt his right to have a higher property value trumped his neighbors’ right to grow their own food.
While the residents of the house were held at gunpoint for several hours (including a 2 week old baby separated from his mother during the raid), the police tore up all of their plants – for this family, it was their food for the fall and winter. They found no marijuana, no marijuana plants, and no evidence that marijuana had ever been on the property.
I received a letter in the mail late last week: the letter explained that the City of Dallas was dismissing its criminal suit against me for possession of a rooster in my backyard.
Back in late April, a reluctant City Code Compliance Officer came to my door and handed me a citation for unlawful ownership of a Rooster on my property.
I’m a lawyer by trade, and so I am more prone to reading and studying the law than to breaking it. I won’t bore you with the legal details, but I promise you that the Rooster was legally on my property, and none of my neighbors were bothered by it. Many enjoyed hearing it. Most didn’t care.
The City Attorney went balls-to-the-wall in his prosecution of the case for 3 months. The jury trial (which I was very excited about) was one week away when I received the City’s letter dismissing the case against me.
I have my guesses as to why the case was dismissed, which I won’t bore you with here. In reality, I don’t know the actual reasons.
All I know is that I get to enjoy, at least for now, the proud crow of my rooster as I work in the yard or the garden.
In the words of one of my next-door neighbors, hearing the Rooster crow transports me, in my mind, out of the city. For a few short moments, I am walking in the country-side.
The Germans have a single word for this entire story: Waldeinsamkeit.