Sunday Morning ~ Invisible Lines
October 28, 2018
The marathon is in one week and this morning I did my final long run. I’d been at a global nursing caucus for two days and was staying in Littleton, and decided to do the run before driving back to Maine. I ran to the next town, Harvard, where Rachael and Amelia met me to see the movie set where Little Women is being filmed. No sightings of Meryl Streep, unfortunately, but it was cool to see the set. They’d remade the center of the town to look like colonial Concord, which didn’t take much, actually. There was new signage on the general store that said “Concord” instead of “Harvard” and a set of buildings built to match. These were just shells of buildings set next to the general store. Gas lamps were piled in a section, ready to be placed along the sidewalk when the scene will be shot. I looked at one of the new buildings with a drape over the entrance that said, “Union Army Soldiers Fund”. I remembered that this story starts during the Civil War. I loved that book as a kid. I probably read it ten times as a young girl and then listened to it on tape about fifty times when my kids were little. I used to say to my kids, “See how they helped their mother who was out working? They got her supper ready for her! Their father was away at war. They were worried about him.” I loved all things old fashioned. I always felt like I was born in the wrong century. I wanted to be Jo.
As we drove home, Amelia kept referring to the lines on the road. I said, “Yes, they mark where the cars are supposed to go. We have to stay on our side of the lines.” I thought that was fairly straightforward. “No!” she insisted, “The invisible lines!” This to me sounded like a silly attempt to control the conversation since Rachael and I weren’t including her in whatever we were talking about. I said, “You are just being silly. If the lines are invisible, how do you know they are there?” She said, “Because we were in Harvard and now we are in Littleton.” I thought about that for a second and then got it. I said, “Oh! You mean the boundary between towns? That invisible line?” She nodded with a big smile on her face as if she were proud of me for finally figuring it out.
She makes me think about communication and understanding, invisible boundaries, and where we are heading. I think of lines that divide towns, states, countries, and voting districts and how they have shaped our lives. What a bizarre species we are to divvy up land like this.
Invisible lines. How many wars have they caused? Who drew them? European men? Lines are drawn through groups of people sharing the same DNA who now must live in separate countries. They live with different government and regulation because somehow this invisible line appeared. How confusing. How does it get explained? There is an invisible line and the people on this side pay more taxes and have better schools. Their houses are worth more. The lines run through forests and farmlands, jungles and rivers. I ride in the car and think of how this all must appear to indigenous people who lived on this land belonging to no one and everyone.
I want to hide all the ugliness of the world from this sweet girl smiling in the back seat. I wish she could grow up in a storybook where everything turns out ok. But it wasn’t ok. The war took it’s terrible toll, Marmee was distraught but held it together ( I always loved that), Father was injured, Beth died; it was hardly a cheery time. But the girls gave their presents away to the poor. They were good to the core though the world wasn’t. It never has been.