Sunday, November 25, 2007

When Was the Last Time a Helicopter Landed at Your House?

If someone happens to ask me that at work tomorrow - admitedly it would be a first - I can answer, "yesterday."

The demise of the friendly border between the US and Canada is something that has been on my mind in a small way for the last several months. The Canadian-US border runs through our property. The former owners, looking to expand the farm back in the 1940s, bought a field and some woods in Canada. No one thought twice about that kind of thing around here in the old days. There are even houses that are built with the border running through them. One of my favorite Vermont villages, Derby Line, is essentially cut in two by the border. The honor system required reporting at the crossing point and cameras viewed the side streets. When we bought the place it we thought of the cross-border field as a fun sort of curiousity. No one ever hassled us or the previous owner.

Well, now that seems to have changed. The helicopter landed on the US side of our Canadian field when it spied some hunters, locals who had been given permission by my husband to hunt on our property, and who had apparently crossed into Canada. They are the good guys around here and its a shame that a helicopter descended to hassle them. I gather that their troubles may be with Canadian Fish & Game but the Border Patrol clearly was laying down the law. What it means for continuing the 60 years tradition of farming in that field remains to be seen. I think that thanks to Osama Bin Laden and a certain hysteria in Washington, all of us who have built our social infrastructure on a friendly border are in serious trouble. Here at the Last House we have always given the border patrol carte blanche over our property. Two agents showed up at our door last weekend with a clipboard and a list of questions about our property. My husband gave them permission to come any time and to put in sensors on our land. He likes their presence as a way to keep off trespassers - but it's not trespassers that I am worried about. How could he say no, however, even if he didn't like the idea? I have worked with cops and I it doesn't do any good to fail to cooperate. Of course, we don't want drug dealers or terrorists on our land but does keeping them off mean we can't use it either? The helicopter wasn't black but it portends no good...