You Can’t Own Land

I think the squirrel should have dibs on the fence.

I clicked into this post that I started writing months ago and found it started. Notes from a revolutionary. That’s got to be me right? I can honestly say I have often considered the idea of land ownership bizarre at best and cruel at worst. Bring it up in a stock standard discussion I’ve found that few have shared my sentiments. I mean I’ll be honest even park benches and memorial placks seriously get my goat. The idea that anybody has the right to place any kind of claim on a public space is preposterous.

I know I’m a bit hardcore on this one. You see our relationships with land and space are very deeply personal. Do you think that just because the American Flag is placed on the moon that the USA can claim it from collective imaginations and visioning? Moon TM. It isn’t possible and nor is the same concept passable for land. I vehemently believe that land ownership and furthermore the entitlement to land desecration that it causes might be one of the most singular reasons that us humans are so fucked up.

Very recently I was in circle sharing about death and grief when I realised that my first grief was the grief I felt for my own village as it was systematically concreted over one piece at time. There’s houses over the fields of bluebells. Roads were wild speckled orchids once grew. Mountain bike paths where you used to encounter wild herds of dear and the odd weasel. I accepted that places change like people. In the modern era there has been very little natural about it, as land is carved up and dished out like sweeties. Completely negating the existing relationship that a person, peoples or even nature itself might have with it. Personally, I find the appropriation of land emotionally disturbing at it leaves me feeling violated. I know to most people that seems extreme and yet I can’t alter the way I feel about it. Even with all the inner work, I can’t seem to fix it. Even when it’s land I’m not even connected to. With each new housing development and retail park, I find my sadness and grief deepening. I know it not just me, it’s felt by the collective.

This year I  learned that love has to be based on mutual respect. Mutual respect is a concept often banded about between people about people. Yet what if we were to apply it to land? Sounds quite radical doesn’t it and yet New Zealand as always is ahead of the game. In 2017 the New Zealand government recognised the Whanganui River as a legal person. in other words don’t fuck with it. It’s easy to get all doe-eyed at the principle that nature should be protected, that it should even have rights. And yes it’s incredible that New Zealand has taken such steps to enshrine this stuff into law. The thing is it’s only at the behest of the Maori people who have lived there for generations. It’s not New Zealand is so progressive it’s that ‘The West’ is so ignorant of the sacred nature of land and myriad of multiverses it’s desecration desperately impacts, even if it is just the inner-working of the human soul.

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