When you hear the word ‘border’ what do you think of? Is there a particular idea that comes to mind?
In some cases, a border is a sharp delineation between two things. For example, the drawings in a coloring book use borders to tell the green part from the blue part.
However, the idea quickly grows more unclear. Let’s use a border between two properties. That boundary is an imaginary line that serves as a legal distinction between, say, me and my neighbor. On this side of this imaginary line is my property; that side of the line belongs to my neighbor.
But that line is not real. A tree growing on one side may have limbs and/or roots that pass through this imaginary edge to the other side. Birds fly right through this line, and snow piles up the same on either side. Borders between countries, or even continents, are similarly porous.
For another example, how about a border between a forest and a prairie. That’s pretty straightforward: where the trees end and the grass begins is the boundary.
But seeds from the grass can blow underneath trees and grow there. And an acorn from a tree on this boundary can fall into the prairie. The border is not so fixed.
Or in a more abstract sense, what about two areas of study? What is the border then? This one thing is physics; that one thing is astronomy. But in that middle ground is astrophysics.
If you look more closely at the edges, any two areas can blend with each other. So does the boundary really exist? What does the word ‘border’ mean to you?