Walking the fence line in southern Alberta, following the lines of barbed wire that separate a cultivated field from the uncultivated valley below. The border where an orderly barley crop meets disorderly prairie grasses. The land where I'm walking is affected by other nearby boundaries, both natural and unnatural, both imaginary and real.
There is a river nearby, and a continental divide - just two of the ways the terrain naturally expresses itself with water and land forms that create boundaries recognized by human and other life forms. The USA border is not far away, as is an international highway that divides the landscape. There are many fences, many roads, many visible and invisible boundary lines marking private property from other private property, bounding private property from the scant public land that is still acknowledged in this region.
We can relate to boundaries in the parallel or in the perpendicular. We can follow, cross, or transgress them. Locally, we have just crossed the seasonal boundary into winter, and our neighbours south of the border are teetering on the edge of a line in the political landscape, which will be crossed within hours. A boundary implies dichotomy, which leads us easily to a sense of division and of conflict, but it isn't necessarily so.
Location: Southern Alberta, Canada
Date: 6 November 2020
*Thanks to Walking the Land's First Friday Walk for the idea and the collective nudge to take a walk.
Sandra Cowan likes to walk on trails, paths, and city streets. She is based in southern Alberta, Canada, a visitor in the land of the Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy).