In recent weeks America has been absorbed in emotional discussions on who may cross our borders. As I listen to these conversations I realize that the tiny hamlet of Brant Lake — in addition to Kevin The Loon, stone walls and Adirondack chairs, also offers insight into this disturbing issue of borders.

As proof, I bring to your attention the Incredible Incident of the Disappearing Pin. The pin in question is not an ordinary pin. Not at all. This particular pin is a steel pin, 3 inches wide, that was pounded into the stone of my original property on Palisades Road more than 100 years ago and marked the property line between my home and the home of my friend and neighbor, Michael. Once upon a time there was also a giant white pine that marked our boundary line. Unfortunately, a fierce wind storm toppled this evergreen which became the floor of a local bar. Now only the pin remains.

One day Michael and I decided to search for this pin.  The poet Robert Frost wrote, “Good pins make good neighbors.” (Please excuse my poetic license). Thus, the incentive to find the pin. Well, we explored and explored and finally discovered the mallet scarred iron pin in the following location: 26’ above the lake, 4’ to the right of a branch of the Juniper which, in itself, was 8‘ from the spot where, on June 23, 1994 I had spied a chipmunk, and diagonally across from the pile of acorns soon to be hoarded by a black squirrel. We thought these measurements quite exact but the local surveyor refused to enter our meticulous findings into the record book. (As a result, I became disillusioned with science and I have remained disillusioned to this day.) Well, at least Michael and I knew where the pin was located and often, at dinner parties, we shared this fascinating and intriguing knowledge with guests –– which often ended said party at an early hour!

So, the years passed, and the time arrived when I sold my house. Bill, the new owner, desired to know the boundary. “It’s the pin, Bill, just the pin. I’ll show you.” But I could not locate the pin. The Juniper had died. According to reliable sources the black squirrel had moved to a grove of oak trees further up Palisades Road and the chipmunks had given birth to a new generation of cute little creatures who knew nothing about DM’s, Designated Markers. To further aggravate the situation, a blanket of huckleberry bushes covered the rock cliff, completely hiding the surface.

After many hours Bill and I accepted defeat, however, I consoled Bill with sage words, once again adapting Mr. Frost: “Something there is that doesn’t love a pin!” I continued, “But Michael and I have had a fine relationship even though the marker has disappeared.” Bill had no idea what I was talking about.  If only he followed my blog more closely he might realize that often I also have no idea what I am talking about! Well, anyway, if people accept and respect one another perhaps pins are not necessary. Artificial boundaries separate diverse peoples who desire to live together.

When, in the days to come, and people accept this truism, inscribed on the head of a pin, huckleberry bushes will rule the world, all peoples will live together in peace and harmony and pins will disappear from the face of the earth!

May that day come speedily!

Brant Lake

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