November 8, 2010

It is said that to die rich is to die disgraced.

Well, even though I am “cash poor”, I am certainly “asset rich” because Windgrove’s ocean front 100 acres is a valuable property. It behoves me, therefore, to use this richness to the betterment of my community as I dearly want to be graced by their continued presence in my life.

To this end, on a drizzly Sunday morning a week ago, several of my neighbours gathered at my home, first for breakfast, and then for a ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate the opening up of a new coastal track I surveyed and then had workmate Steve construct along the western edge of Windgrove. This now allows my community a rather stunning walk (humbly speaking) through coastal flora of banksia, tea tree, acacia, she-oak and a multitude of smaller shrubs and flowers while, all the while, catching glimpses of the magnificent Roaring Beach and surrounding cliffs.

[The photos of the “dry” path on a sunny day I took this morning. The photos showing my neighbours on a “wet” path were taken last Sunday.]

But isn’t it also said that “good fences make good neighbours”?

In my personally philosophy, I would have to agree with Robert Frost who writes in his poem “Mending Wall”:

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.

In truth, I understand the need for boundaries, but I prefer to “honour” boundaries by making them porous and open to ritual (such as our ribbon cutting ceremony).

The proverb “Good fences make good neighbors” relates to traditions and rituals antedating the Romans. The god of boundaries they named Terminus and he was annually honored in a ritual that not only reaffirmed boundaries but also provided the occasion for predetermined traditional festivities among neighbors.

The festival of the Terminalia was celebrated in Rome and in the country on the 23rd of February. The neighbours on either side of any boundary gathered round the landmark [the stones which marked boundaries], with their wives, children, and servants; and crowned it, each on his own side, with garlands, and offered cakes and bloodless sacrifices.

George Montiero; from ‘Robert Frost and the New England Renaissance’

Here at Windgrove we offered pancakes, sausages, maple syrup and fresh squeezed orange juice to the gods before dedicating the new path.

Notice the clean plate in the front of the dining table? That’s for the unexpected guest. Welcome to my home. Come with me and take a walk along the wild side.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nisha Harris November 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

Hi Peter…

I am Dougal’s sister and was privileged to wander this beautiful path recently. It was alive with whispering sheoaks and roaring surf.

Looking out over the beautiful untouched coastline was invigorating and liberating. It restored my faith that there are still wild areas largely unscarred by man.

Thank you for all the effort that has gone in to the track and the stunning sculptures scattered throughout. I hope to return to this special place soon.

Nisha Harris

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