“As long as our civilization is essentially one of property, of fences, of exclusiveness, it will be mocked by delusions.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I wonder what message the builders of the massive fence intend. Are they hoping to lock out criminals, child molesters, door-to-door solicitors, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormans? Fences either keep people or animals out or in. Rarely do they do the job with complete success. Those guys on the TV show Prison Break found a way out of Fox River State Penn (a.k.a Joliet Prison). A dog can dig under a fence or jump over a fence if he is really set on escape. Kids will climb a fence to go swimming, retrieve a baseball or just because someone wants them to stay away.
Fences are necessary to corral animals like horses, cattle and friend Stan’s two ostriches. Necessary to enclose dangerous activities, swimming pools, military bases. Fences can be small like one set up to keep rabbits out of the garden, although Peter did manage to squeeze under. Huge fences can enclose an entire town like the ones that surround Times Beach in Missouri after the environmental disaster.
I have been watching the development of this fence for several months now since I pass by it often. Even before the streets were paved and the land plotted for houses, the fence was commenced. It’s a strong fence as I would think a brick fence or rather a brick wall would be. Once the houses are built and the people come will they be safe? Will they escape crime, abuse, addictions, job troubles, head-strong kids, worrying about money? Will they be isolated, insulated, or prisoners by choice?
From the Mending Wall by Robert Frost:
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.”