Fences are made of lots of materials: wood, metal, plastic, trees, shrubs, roses, hedges, stones, pretty much whatever a person can think of to make a boundary. The boundary exists to define an area. The area may be one that is set apart to describe its contents (a garden, perhaps?) or to keep out strangers whether people or animals, or in the case of an electric fence, to keep pets inside. Sometimes a fence is more of a suggestion than a barrier, as are the trees here, but a fence always makes a visual statement – all within the enclosure is mine.
I find fences interesting. I understand the symbolism of both protection and avoidance, of keeping things in and warning things away, of maintaining control of an environment. Yet, as with physical fences, symbolic fences often have a way of getting rusty or overgrown or outliving their original purpose. We can trap ourselves behind our own emotional fences. Years ago I lost a friendship because I constructed a fence around a perception of hurt and did not allow a discussion to clarify the situation. Now I try to at least keep an open gate in any fences I construct. It’s kind of freeing. And it gives poignant meaning to the phrase “mending fences.”
Here is a history of fences and how they influenced cultural development and thought and possibly more than you ever thought about the subject: http://www.nyu.edu/pubs/counterblast/fence.htm