March 15, 2011

We all have our own emotional acres of land.

Some of us erect fences, whether it’s chain-link or picket, electrical wiring or tall brick partitions. Within that acre, each one of us will roam as we see fit. And if someone comes onto our emotional acre, we can ask him or her to leave, because it’s our acre.

We each make the decision whether to tend to our acre, or not tend to it, if that’s what we want. We can have garage sales or free-for-alls or races or parties or auctions or gardens or parking spaces.

We can have swings or benches or trees.

Some acres are on hills. Some are in valleys.

Some have constant rain. Others constant sunshine.

We can have clothes lines, or dogs, cats, rabbits, vegetables. And so on and so forth.

There is no homeowner’s association involved here.

Some are choked with weeds, overflowing with rotting garbage, sloppy with dank mud. Others are trimmed neatly, soft enough for babies, picnics, or camp outs.

But only one acre. That’s all we have.

An acre is pretty big, when you think about it. And for some, an acre can prove to be much too big to handle.

We have learned to keep to our acres and let others water their own. We have realized that to tear down fences or erect others’ fences for them is considered an invasion of privacy. We cannot build houses or shacks on their acres, throw balls onto their acre, or even mow their lawn.

But a change occurs when we tap on their post, and they wave us in.

That’s when we can lift the latch, swing the gate open, and have a lemonade on their front porch with them. And this is how community is built.