After printing one of the photos from my Little Painted Desert set of images, I noticed a bit of fence that had slipped my attention, near the edge of the frame and it struck me as odd that there would be a fence in that landscape.
I then remembered that early after moving to California from Bavaria, it struck me just how many fences were everywhere here. I guess I’ve gotten used to it by now, but also, I’m always a bit hesitant to comment on such differences because I don’t want to give people the impression that I think “old Europe” (thanks, Donald Rumsfeld;-) is better than America.
I’m merely observing differences, most of the time, and there are a lot of things that are better in America than in Europe too, of course: democratic processes with motions and voting, all the way down to the smallest organizational levels, are much more important in the US than in Germany, for example.
In the case of fences though, it struck me as odd that “the land of the free” is so very fenced, and one’s personal freedom to roam the land only goes as far as the next “No trespassing!” sign – and to make sure of that, people erect fences in the places where the natural landscape is already so forbidding that a fence hardly seems necessary. :-}
I don’t quite see how or why one would want to trespass a boulder-strewn chaparral slope with vegetation so dense and hard that the mere attempt to pass through it would leave one scratched and bleeding, for example. And the same for the labyrinthic, confusing mess of mud hills of badlands. But there are fences in such places, and I find that mind-boggling.
By comparison, farmers in Bavaria and Austria rarely fence their fields, and it is easily tolerated that people take walks on their dirt roads. The only thing farmers scoff at is dog feces on cow pastures, for obvious reasons. Otherwise, I always felt free to roam in Bavaria, and in fact didn’t even think much about who might own the property. I always assumed that it was private, and tread with the necessary respect.