The man drove onto the corner of the lawn and slammed his truck to a stop. Greg went out to question him and received a load of anger that I could feel from inside the house. I walked outside to see why this angry man had invaded our peaceful afternoon. I was struck by the waves of hostility that hit me with a force for which I was not prepared. Obscenity laced invective was screamed at me, words frightful and threatening . I asked my 'neighbor' to leave, after trying to learn his name, and with more curses and and violent imagery flying at me from his truck, he spun his tires and roared off.. I was shaken by this encounter; I felt that I had been assaulted and needed to go wash. My hands trembling, I found the phone and called the police.
This is all over a twenty foot square ( actually it is a narrow triangle) of land that sits up by the road where I have stacked my firewood for almost 20 years. Where the folks who lived here before me parked their cars. A piece of ground at the edge of the forest that only I can see, that is useless to anyone else, but that has obviously become very valuable to the people who have had the survey done and discovered that my firewood pile sits on the edge of their property.
There was no reasoning with this man, someone whom I have never met. I would not recognize him if I bumped into him today. But this encounter has shattered the peace and safe-haven of my home. I am now frightened. Frightened that he will hurt my dogs, that he will steal or damage my car or hurl the offending logs onto my carefully planted and lovingly tended flowerbeds. I want to lock my doors, figure out how to lock the shed and basement, get curtains for all the windows since I feel he is now out there, waiting, his ugly words hanging in the air, his anger palpable, lingering. I am nervous that this is not over, that one visit from the state police will not deter him from taking what he believes is his, this tiny corner that no one ever wanted.
What is it that makes people think that it is OK to be so abusive towards one another? Where do we learn that this is how to handle disputes? That anger and intimidation are our only weapons against the wood stacking demons around the corner who have taken over a very small section of forest that does not (in his mind )belong to them?
This is rural Pennsylvania. The property lines were more ideas than fixed boundaries. No one , for as long as I have lived in these parts has ever bothered to have a survey done, to be so exacting in claiming what is theirs. We all spill over onto one another in some fashion and no one has ever cared. Until now.
And so with peace of mind shattered I must walk out into the dark, start my car and drive away from my precious home, my sanctuary, the one place I have always felt safe. I will worry about this foolish, violent man's next step, and be uneasy when I come home later, carefully locking the doors, and staying inside, no longer comfortable wandering in my gardens, relaxing on a bench enjoying the solitude. I am sad that this has happened, I feel that something has been lost, never to be regained, taken, never to be returned. I don't know what to do.