Monday, January 16, 2012


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:


  1. Once again, you have opened our eyes to see beauty and connections in objects we usually take for granted. The way you connected physical fences with emotional ones and the need to keep an emotional "gate" in our emotional fences struck a chord with me; I'll carry that image with me and use it. Like so many thing you say, it is wise and insightful and will provide me with a path to follow. Thank you.

  2. I am grateful for your words, Claire. Thank you, too.

  3. Thanks Feri! I wondered why I saw 20 or more robins in a yard this winter. Now I know!