The stockade fence
On June 22nd of this year, I drove a van, crammed with the set for a play - Chekhov and Maria, across North America, from Ojai to NYC. This mission brought me back to my hometown in Doylestown PA. The trip took five days and I did not leave a scratch on the new Ford Expedition Van.
The last day brought me some storms as I made my way across PA. Just as dusk became night, I arrived into the historic little Doylestown. My 8-year absence felt like a century. No, I thought to myself, this aint home anymore. Trees had more than doubled in size and the recent heavy rains had made the community dark green and lush.
All the kids that grew up in the neighborhood are married with kids of their own. Many of my old neighbors and friends' parents are grandparents now. The Doylestown trail system has greatly expanded. Doylestown has nightlife now. The amount of restaurants has quadrupled and there are now cool little nightclubs too.
What always felt like a boring town has become a Mecca for many highschoolers from the surrounding communities. There are also adults in large numbers as well; they hang in the shops, cafes and restaurants while the youth hang out on the sidewalk or Starbucks.
It is so much easier for me to appreciate Doylestown after having close to a decade separation and having a home in Ojai.
The night before leaving, I walked across the backyard to flat area on Christopher Lane's asphalt and began to practice tai chi. The previous evening, I'd attended one of Rolly Brown's classes. I was please to regain some of the bits, which had blurred during my 8-year absence from form corrections class. As I progressed thru the movements, I could feel a powerfully revitalized as my chi felt thicker than blood. Deeply concentrating on my breath, body mechanics and balance, I was still able to watch as my dad, a former redhead and granddad to 7, pushed his latest grandchild up and down the street.
It was at this moment that I was struck with a wave of sadness because the keyser's have closed down access to the adjoining neighborhood; limiting my father and niece to just Christopher Lane.
There's a legal easement in between two properties, which I had used several times a day, while growing up, as a means to get to friends' homes. The other way was much longer and involved(s) traveling along a narrow, curving busy road with fast traffic. The easement still exists but it is not being honored as a consequence of a falling out among a few neighbors.
The fence, which has abruptly ended easy access to Dogwood Lane, has been coined the Stockade Fence, also has a video camera on it. This illegal barrier has had a negative impact on the entire neighborhood. Everyone is affected. Every neighbor I spoke with were all in the same key of shock and dismay at the Keyser's callous audacity and indifference to community harmony.
While I moved in slow motion thru the form, I felt the cool breeze of anger and thought of ways to strike back. As I continued thru the 60 movements, which have been refined for 2300 years, I realized that maybe, just maybe, the way thru may involve someone taking the high road. I think that someone or sometwo will be the Keysers.
It is my belief that time will allow the Keysers to heal the wounds and pain they feel from the loss of friendships. I believe that time will give them a sense of perspective which will encourage them to respect the law and the neighborhood.
I suspect that the stockade fence is symbolic of a barrier across their hearts that they see reflected in each other’s eyes - reflection that cannot be ignored for long. Truth is like water and always finds a way to wear down illusions, which interfere with happiness. The majority of people that have been impacted by this illegitimate gate have absolutely nothing to do with the reasons behind its construction.
Currently, there is no discourse except for lawyers. This is ridiculous. Take the high road, tear down the wall. The relief in your hearts will be palpable. The ones you are hurting most are your selves.
Even now, as I fly across a divided nation, I picture my father, walking that trail, a trail that he had been using for almost 30 years until a feud among a few ended this fundamental right for all.
Posted by Mike Didj on July 20, 2006 10:25 AM |www.ojaipost.com