Friday, July 25, 2008

The Art of Sharing Nature

When my parents moved to Wellfleet in 1970, there were few houses in the woods off Old King's Highway. Gradually the parcels have been carved off and sold. Houses have been built. My parents were friends with the lady who lived next door in the summer. She built her “bird house” at the other end of her lot, down a side lane, and talked my mother into lending her washing machine. There were no houses down her lane at the time. Now there are two others. That was thirty years ago.

Controversy with neighbors is happening more frequently these days in Wellfleet. The Banner even reported Steve Durkee’s quarrel with his new neighbors who intend to stop people from walking along the path at the foot of their property, where Steve’s wife Nancy kept a book for folks to comment on the view of the inlet beside Uncle Tim’s Bridge. New owners are more apt to bring habits from other places - for instance, from the suburbs - and do not understand the art of sharing nature the way folks who live here year-round do.

Someone in South Wellfleet put up a fence that blocked a path neighbors had always used to reach the bay. That fence got into the newspapers, too.

I do not think the fence, now erected behind Chez Sven, will make the newspapers, but since I have a blog, I can tell readers what I think of it. It's awful! The neighbors inherited money, which is nice for them. They are here in the summer and come a couple weekends in spring and fall. When they emailed me that they planned to get a puppy and wanted to put up a green fence around their property, I offered to share the expense of an invisible fence, since it is my opinion that woods should not be fenced in. There was no more discussion of the topic once I had expressed my opposition. Then, this week, they wrote to inform me that someone was coming to put up their fence. The fence turns out to be five feet high. I will have to landscape the other side of Seagull Cottage, which used to face the woods.

Last year the neighbor's car broke down. Sven went out of his way to help out, driving him all the way to Provincetown. At that time, the neighbor said to let him know if there was anything he could do for us, anything. Memories fade, apparently, when you are a non-resident.

If I am putting this information in my blog, it is so future guests will know I did my best to oppose this insult to our local environment. Guests will have to bring their imagination with them over the next couple months. The fence will eventually have roses growing on it, and perhaps I will plant some broom and rosa rugosa. But, for now it is bare. Don’t you just love summer people?