The recent fighting in Southern Lebanon and Northern Israel got me to thinking about similar disputes.
Protestant and Catholic in Northern Ireland. Sunni and Shiite in Iraq (and elsewhere). Iran and Iraq. The Union and the Confederacy in the U.S.
My neighbors and the tree.
The dispute started when a tree on one neighbor’s property lost a large limb during an overnight wind storm. The limb straddled the next-door neighbor’s driveway.
Why neither of them did anything when it first fell – and probably made a lot of noise in the process – I can’t say. Maybe they are sound sleepers.
This was also not the first time limbs from the tree had fallen on the next-door neighbor's yard - albeit, previous limbs had been much smaller. The tree was old. The next-door neighbor says he had asked the neighbor to do something about the tree before, but to no avail.
Anyway, the next-door neighbor, who was an early riser and had to get the limb out of the way so he could get his car out of the driveway, woke the neighbor whose tree limb was agitating him.
The neighbor, who was a late riser, was not happy at being awakened. Apparently he had a few choice words for the next-door neighbor (at least that is the report I have of the incident), and went back to bed.
The next part I know for a fact: I saw it.
When the neighbor finally awoke, the limb had been dragged across his lawn, tearing it up a bit, and was now straddling his driveway.
Apparently he said a few choice words concerning the next-door neighbor (again, hearsay on my part).
That evening, neighbor returned home to find a number of limbs that had been hanging over the next-door neighbor’s driveway and yard now missing from the tree.
It seems the next-door neighbor had hired a handyman armed with a chain saw to remove the potentially offending limbs.
There is talk of a lawsuit.
I can imagine the neighbors glaring at each other from behind windows waiting for the other shoe – or limb – to drop.
Of such moments are wars made.
And, in the case of Chesterton, a poem.
The World State
Oh, how I love Humanity,
With love so pure and pringlish,
And how I hate the horrid French,
Who never will be English!
The International Idea,
The largest and the clearest,
Is welding all the nations now,
Except the one that's nearest.
This compromise has long been known,
This scheme of partial pardons,
In ethical societies
And small suburban gardens—
The villas and the chapels where
I learned with little labour
The way to love my fellow-man
And hate my next-door neighbour.