I was just thinking…………

…….about boundaries. Now there’s a word!

Boundary: -ries. Something that indicates the farthest limit, as of an
area, a border.
Bounds: A limit; boundary. Something that restrains or confines,
Esp. the standards of a society: See also – out of bounds.

I just finished watching ‘Travelling Birds’. (Could this be a ‘Chick Flick’ – in its broadest sense? …. Oh that was awful!) No seriously, I didn’t get to see this film on the big screen, despite the urging of friends, so I at last got it out on DVD, and what a powerful show! I’m sure most of you would have seen it already and will agree that it’s fascinating and very, very emotive. The scene where an entire flock of snow geese is caught by surprise and wiped out by shooters is shocking, to say the least.
It’s puzzling to fathom why, in these days of sophisticated thinking, men beat their chests with pride at the bravery it takes to kill a bird! Now there’s a prime example of one meaning of the word ‘boundary’- that between man and nature. I believe the biggest setback of man is his conceit and audacity in creating that boundary in the first place - and calling it ‘intelligence’, then proceeding to systematically trample right through it to destroy the very best of what’s on this earth.

At the end of the show, I read the Directors’ notes and Jacques Perrin’s incisive words jumped out at me:

‘If for the space of a year we no longer waited for the seasons, if we embarked on the most fabulous of journeys, if, abandoning our towns and our countryside we went on a tour of the planet?
If we understood that our borders did not exist, that the earth is a one and only space and we learned to be free as birds?’

…..and there it is again – borders? boundaries? Another slant on the meaning. Interesting. In an ideal world, what if we could discard our boundaries? Can you just try to imagine the changes that would take place? Mind blowing, isn’t it?

In Ireland, over the last 20 years, boundaries of another nature have been changing. Boundaries of hundreds of lifetimes have been shifting, loosening, challenged, so rapidly and to such an extent that the older generations are left reeling! With the decline of the fierce Catholic hold over family structure, the more relaxed lifestyle of the rest of the modern western world has kicked in, and the younger generations are testing and stretching those traditional boundaries with a fervour and a zest that has the country right up there in the world of modernity. (Whether that’s always a good thing of course, begs the question ‘Progress at what cost?’)

And leaving that thought, I go on to other boundaries; boundaries personal and hard-earned through a lifetime spent conducting oneself responsibly, caringly, earnestly. Boundaries we humans build in an attempt to maintain some privacy in the social world we’ve built for ourselves. These boundaries deserve respect. But of course that’s not happening, is it? Not in this age of ever-slackening punishments, the ever-diminishing authority of criminal law, and the ever-permissive crime permitted by society’s over-tolerant approach to the parasites that infest our space.

A very dear friend of mine had her home broken into recently. While she and her husband watched TV in their lounge room, quite early in the evening, a lowlife ‘slid’ into their bedroom through a window and ransacked their privacy, helping himself to the cherished and irreplaceable articles which had diaried their lifetime, and leaving in his wake the boundaries of simple decency shattered and violated.

Isn’t that horrendous? And very, very disturbing.
Once upon a time our physical ‘boundary’ was simply our front fence, and if we didn’t happen to have one, then at least our front door sufficed, even when it was unlocked (and that was common practice, wasn’t it!)
But now! Now it’s essential to have so much paraphernalia attached to every entry and exit we need to allow several minutes to go through the rigmarole of opening a window or getting in and out of our doors, in a vain attempt to protect both our physical boundary, and ultimately, that of our privacy.
And too many miserable, snivelling predators are out there waiting to perforate our boundaries, intrude our borders and help themselves to the smorgasbord of our privacy. And we are left reeling in their wake, helpless to defend ourselves. Caught by surprise. Like the snow geese against the shooters.

Disturbing, isn’t it!

Lori Spencer (and I PROMISE a light-hearted one next month!)