Yesterday, when I walked the upper canyon road most of the deciduous trees had turned to muted colors or their leaves had fallen away. The remaining bright spots were a scattering of snowberries, the purple hanging clumps of elderberries, and the feathery yellow larches. Devoid of some of its bright fall foliage, the canyon’s signs proclaiming “NO…” were more evident than usual.
An eclipse of late season moths flew over my head and a loveliness of ladybugs gathered along the roadside.
The unusual names for groups of wildlife made me consider a name for the quite prevalent "No..." signs. I decided that the name a worry of noes would work.
Before this land was divided into plots, deeded to individuals, and built upon with cabins, there weren’t so many fears related to “this is mine alone and not yours.” Our democracy depends on a culture of written words with a legal history in the use of boundaries and rights. Signs in a literate society keep conflicts to a minimum and accurately reflect our concerns.
The determination to protect ones space from intruders was particularly evident in the extent to which one property owner made his own sign (above), poked holes in the metal, and stitched it to a gate with wire. Over a period of time something or someone had bent the sign and its effect was diminished. I had never even noticed it before.
What I found most fascinating were the signs that had faded. The sun, the wind, and rain were slowly erasing this sign’s warnings. It made me wonder if the person who had originally posted it – as he or she aged – worried less about their property. Had they become more open to having company in the lonely canyon? More generous about sharing something that they could not take with them to the next world?
And this sign. What did it once say? Was it among the canyon’s worry of noes or was it an anomaly, saying, "Welcome, Come In, Stay Awhile?" I think that I would name a group of signs like that a generosity of welcomes.