The Land Where Edges Meet

January 10, 2009

The road continued straight ahead of us as the bus was blocked, coming to a standstill in front of a simple red and white barrier which denoted an edge, a border, a point where this place was about to end. All around us were plants, trees and bushes, and the sounds of animals amongst them. We alighted the bus and our passports were stamped: an official mark to recognise our exit, and with that, we were politically gone. We got back on the bus and drove two hundred metres through the space between spaces; no man’s land. We got off the bus once more, blocked by another barrier, had our passports stamped again and were officially administrated into a new land with a different name and a different language. And that was that.

The land between the two borders appeared to be identical to the space on either side of it, despite my knowledge to the contrary. There were no natural marks on the ground to mark out any crossing points; no lines in the sand; nor did the animals sound any different.

What is it to be inbetween places, to be neither here nor there, neither one thing or another? A sliding scale of grey exists between black and white, but at what point – and where – does white cease to be white and become black? It is only by creating a border, by drawing a line in the sand, that we can differentiate one thing from another. But how do we define the gap between those things?

It is only on a map you can see the boundaries of a country – where its inhabitants have decided a place must end so another can begin. From an aeroplane window, or a car or a boat, there is nothing of the sort – no huge dotted line on the ground – just the perception that something has changed; you leave one culture and are greeted by another. Maps are definitions of territory, they are just lines in sand. But in the space between those lines, like the darkness between the frames of a movie, or the space between black and white, there is uncharted territory.

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One Response to “The Land Where Edges Meet”

  1. nick scott Says:

    nicely written


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