Friday, May 16, 2014

Metes and Edging

If you look at Mockingbird Territories, you'll find that they pretty much follow the more traditional surveying practice of  metes and bounds. Here, lines are drawn between identifiable markers, and descriptions of these markers and the distances between these markers are entered into the ledger. The more traditional measurement of distance between markers were in rods, perches or poles. Each a word meaning five and half  yards. And if you want to know why five and half yards? It has to do with the idea of a "perfect acre" which is 660 feet by 66 feet. Or 44 rods by 4 rods. And while there might well be perfectly flat land somewhere upon which these rectangles can be neatly placed, in the world of something like a person or a Mockingbird, our view of Territory tends to consist more of circles rather than rectangles. We start with a center and go outwards, and as we do so our horizon is round, not rectangular.  The metes, or points of dispute, are the identifiable features of land that are already in place, rather than points imposed upon the land by the idea of something like a "perfect acre." 

So in many respects it's not so much the distance between metes that contain the quality of preciousness, rather it's the metes themselves. And here, it is well worth noting that 90 degree angles are, from the point of view of someone inside a rectangle, extraordinarily awkward. There's a sort of existential dilemma, an infinity towards nothingness at the 90 degree angle  if you're inside the rectangle.  But if you're outside the rectangle you have 270 degree corner that offers no sense of an infinity toward nothingness, rather both people and Mockingbirds find a sense of opportunity, a new horizon, rather than a kind of brick wall in space.  Of course in the Vegetable Garden as it is currently configured, because there are a great many rectangles, it has dozens of such existential dilemmas.  Each one an Awkward Mete imposed by a flawed concept of edging, I'd argue. And if I ask why? The answer is primarily in an idea of how best to use imported dimensions and shapes from a hardware store to keep Antelope, Elephant and Hippo from trampling the Strawberry, and nibbling the Beans. It's embarrassing really, and I feel quite ashamed when in the company of Mockingbirds.

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