Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The wind was blowing strong today. It blew up small tornados of dust from my yard and whirled them past the clothesline, around the adobe doghouse and then up and over the fence into my neighbor's yard.

That got me thinking about our comedic and absurd notion of owning land. How does one actually own land, and what does it mean, anyway!?

Perhaps the idea that I actually own some land myself strikes me strongly because I spent so many years walking across land that was never mine (nor did it always occur to me that it might "be somebody's"). I own a house. I get that. That I also own land is hard for me to get my mind around.

Do I own the bits of dust and dirt that just blew over the fence? Should I go ask my neighbor to return it? If I toss a stone from my yard into the road, is it still mine? Can I scatter bits of "my" land around the globe and still claim ownership?

"Do you own some land?'

"Oh, yeah. I own land in three different states and two countries."

"Really? Wow!"

"Yeah. I've left handfuls of dirt from my home in all five places."

And what about when I dig a hole in the ground where I live and "own the land?" Do I now own the space that is the hole? How far down do I own the land on which I live?

What odd and humorous concepts. Not so humorous for the guy whose organic corn field neighbored a field owned by Mansanto.

Woody Guthrie probably had it about right in his song, "This Land is Your Land." The song doesn't go, "This land is your land. That land is my land." He used "this land" for both you and me.

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