So, the new neighbor finally hired his own surveyors to mark the boundaries of the property that he purchased last year. The original owner who bought these 6 acres twenty years ago never built a house there but sold it to the new neighbor for $250,000. Without a survey from the seller, the new neighbor alienated all of his neighbors at one time or another by acting as though he knew where the boundaries were by consulting Google Maps on his phone. Trying to avoid additional misunderstandings, I paid $350 last year for a survey of the property line between us. Now we have a a new marker, not so different from the discarded one, and the line goes right through a line of trees that are about 3 feet from my pool fence.
Obviously, this relationship with my new neighbor has not gone well. I don't have problems with other neighbors. One even called me the neighborhood ambassador. My new neighbor thinks I'm the ass in ambassador. This is clearly a test of my beliefs and practices in forgiveness, and repentance, in grace and compassion.
The trees are ugly, and certainly not anything I want to protect. I do want to be a good neighbor. In "Mending Wall", Robert Frost wrote: "He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'" And so we have orange markers and we are divided for the time being, and not good neighbors, nor friends, yet.
I have failed so far. And it may never change. But we have each seen glimpses of kindness from the other; we have just forgotten the possibilities for the time being.