The rain’s come earlier, i’m thinking. “I’m amazed there’s just so much water”, colleague comments. Tropical downpours are common, regular, but still pretty awesome. “Ponding”–once dramatically pronounced a “‘once in 50 years’” event–is regular occurrence. It’s either hibernate at home, hearing the winds lash the walls, or slosh to work and be damp but grateful. Outdoors are wet rats and muddied squares of grass. Nobody wants to be outdoors.
I read about the Allemansrätt that is usual in most Scandinavian countries.
The main rule is that one can walk, ski or cycle everywhere as long as nothing is harmed and nobody disturbed.
You may pass on foot through forests and across farms but not fields and not military areas. You may not pass fences unless there is a gate that is not locked. In forests you may pick flowers (except some protected species and locations), berries, mushrooms and fallen branches. You may not pass gardens, at least not where the house can be seen or when there is a fence (even if it is open). You may not interfere with any economic activity exercised by the owner of the land. You may stay one night in a tent in an inconspicuous place (not garden) if you don’t leave a single trace. You may not use houses, jetties, sheds etc.
You may not, you may absolutely not, make up fire directly on cliffs or move rocks around, specifically not the rocks that have been placed there by an ancient culture, nor hunt, nor steal eggs. These four latter activities seem to be favourites of our good friends the Germans. The main rule is that one can walk, ski or cycle everywhere as long as nothing is harmed and nobody disturbed. Then, there are refinements and exceptions to this, of course.
How close to houses can one dare to come? No definite rule exists, but in Sweden it’s often said that the privacy area around a dwelling is to be understood as at least 200 meters (in Norway 150 meters). This does of course depend on the landscape and other conditions. An alternative wording of the rule is that if you hear or see other people, then you are too close to them.
– Fredrik Östman
“Everyman’s right”: implicit is the freedom to roam. This right of public access goes down to “private” lands. You can walk, hike, camp wherever you please within responsible reason. That suggests public freedom, and crucially, a blessing of open spaces. I love that. We have some space here; there’s a bigger (relatively) square of grass i pass daily en route to the MRT. Huge trees, verdant grass, always shade with golden warmth streaming through. The neighbourhood’s many dogs and dog owners would love a stroll there. The neighbourhood’s many old would probably enjoy a sit out in the fresh air. I would. Instead, a stake “State Land” claims it and a green fence surrounds it.
Once in a while, you catch a stray dog wandering through that square, and you think wild thing, out there like that in the open, it’s gonna get caught and put down.
I don’t have a picture of the square or its restrictive sign. But i have a picture, a kind of mirage, of open green lands no one can tell me it’s not mine to through.