The place my husband and I call home borders the LaHave River, where we’re situated amongst other acreage dwellers both upriver and down.
Our property in this bit of Nova Scotian paradise borders the forest, where residents of the animal kingdom roam and occasionally wander into our yard. This can be fascinating and frustrating. Four porcupines and seven deer together one evening in the yard this spring was a bit much. Especially as they dug around and grazed on our small field, paying no mind to my yelling to “keep moving along!”
The plant kingdom brings me most pleasure: trees and flowers and veggies. I grew up shelling buckets of peas, picking raspberries, helping my Mom water and dead-head her flowers: such labours didn’t warp my love for working with plants. Excluding of course, the weeds that persistently seek and creep through chinks in boundaries of all kinds.
Managing the weeds and the wildlife has prompted me to consider this topic of boundaries more closely. Borders, boundaries, barriers (I’m intermingling them): what do you think of when you hear these terms?
Some possible responses: they help one define what you’re comfortable with, how you like to be treated and interact with others.
Or one may think of a specific line or object that indicates safety, i.e. a guardrail on a twisty road to help drivers stay on the road.
I resonate with Merriam-Webster’s definition for boundary: “a point or limit that indicates where two things become different.” To me that doesn’t necessarily imply one of the two things is better, or is more logically sound or universally safer. There is simply a difference.
Fluctuating differences has been our story of the last sixteen months. Navigating through the limitations has been like running the rapids: pivoting around boulders and fallen timbers, hoping to find a calm pool.
Depending on personalities (and perseverance) some have been pushing against Covid-19 barriers in their mindset – daring to be more hopeful than negative, leaning in to what they feel in their gut to be right for them, etc. To be healthy I think we need to believe in ourselves, decide what matters to us, still make plans for ourselves. One of the things I’m not relinquishing is giving up the wish to hike with my daughter Renee, who lives a thirteen-hour drive away from me. Several months ago, when provincial borders were still closed, we scheduled a four-day hike for September. There will be us two plus two others. Hurrah – I can hardly wait!! We are moving forward in our plans, pushing forward to move beyond a boundary.
For whatever I choose to do, if my decision is to move forward then I need to focus ahead to where I want to land. An illustration from my garden helped me understand this. Rocks keep surfacing through the soil in my garden (it’s like they grow all year long – where do they come from?!) and my pail for picking weeds and rocks often ends up a distance away from me. I’ve discovered this: if I toss a rock towards the pail while looking at the pail, it’s much more likely to land in it. Obviously I was never a basketball player or I’d have known this already!
This focusing principle also helped me push beyond a border I’ve struggled with for many months longer than Covid.
That beautiful LaHave River is my closest waterway for kayaking. We don’t have waterfront property to build a wharf and there’s a guardrail between the river and the road, so accessing the water has been an ongoing challenge. My husband has helped me slide my vessel over this boundary but he isn’t always available – and it seems especially so on those calm days when the river is calling my name.
I tried to find an access via nearby locations but I was at a dead end. Until the day I focused where I wanted to land: in my kayak in the water a few metres away. I wasn’t looking for a crossing of the Red Sea but when the idea simply landed I was very excited! Just slide my kayak under the barrier. Easy and safe.
We all know the term tunnel vision. That was my problem, I could see only one solution.
Restrictions are slowly lifting for the Covid barriers we’ve had. What we’ve been waiting to do or whom we’ve been wanting to see will have similarities and also be different.
I love what my September hiking partner said regarding Covid restrictions lifting and forthcoming choices: “I see an opening, a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m running for it.”
Thank you for reading these thoughts about boundaries; perhaps you’ll be encouraged to look at things differently if you’re feeling stuck. Look for the light at the the end of the tunnel and run for it.