Land of the Landless
Living in a city, sometimes “land” sounds like something other, something not us. Our house sits on a humble square of land, 4690 square feet near downtown Denver. My husband and I don’t own it. The bank does. The idea of owning land intrigues me. How can anyone own the earth?
Still, we do have a relationship with our land. We try to be good stewards. We’ve removed the ivy, because it kept crawling across our neighbor’s walk. My husband just now said, “I’m going outside to shovel our land.” He’s removing snow so passersby won’t slip and fall. I grow flowers, and the blast of color cheers us in spring.
I thought gardening would be nurturing, but I’m waging a small war. I decide what lives and dies in my garden, and my decisions are not as egalitarian as I like to think they are when it comes to people: I care for violets, but destroy ragweed; I rescue baskets of gold, by killing the bugs that eat them. Stewardship, it seems, is a double-edged sword.
I often hike in the nearby Rocky Mountains, and the red rocks, evergreens, and alpine flowers remind me that land is not something other. It feeds my soul. Some people who love nature move to the country. When enough of them move there, it becomes the suburbs. Because I love nature, I live in the city. I don’t want to add another house to the vanishing bits of land that nobody owns.