Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Mighty Fortress


“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.”

10 comments:

Jay Croft said...

Are you talking about the Lockwood development on Narrow Lane Road?

Sheila said...

Jay, the development is the one across from Vaughn Road Park--you know the pecan grove. I forget what they are calling it. I drove through there the other day and it struck me a bit odd that they have spent so much time constructing this "fence" before even laying one house foundation.

Naomi said...

Sounds really strange to me Sheila. I wouldn't have thought people living in the houses would be any safer than those without a fence. Criminals are like everybody else. If they want to get in, they'll find a way.

Jay Croft said...

The same thing happened with Lockwood. After laying all sorts of drainage pipes and constructing several ponds. an elaborate fence facing Narrow Lane Road was constructed.

Now nouses are going up--slowly.

As to the Vaughn Road Park site--I agree with you. Maybe putting up the fence first is a deterrent to vandalism of the housing sites, providing that the gates are secured at night.

Don said...

As I began reading this Mending Wall immediately came to mind, as I was pleased to see later that it also came to yours, Sheila. Ahhhh…. Robert Frost, one of my 2 or 3 most favorite poets!

Sheila said...

Naomi, I absolutely agree with you that if someone wants in, they will probably accomplish that. We are kidding ourselves.

Jay, I hadn't thought about the fact that it would be hard to drive a big truck in to vandalize the building site, but jeez wouldn't a good security detail with lots of mean pit bulls be cheaper? I haven't seen the gate go up yet. Bet it'll be a doozy.

Don, Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets too. His words ring true and touch my soul.

Jackie said...

Our homes in South Africa have high walls with electric fencing on top. Electric gates and big dogs. So what happens ? Everyone gets hi-jacked when entering their garages. That causes many to get shot either outside or once in their homes with armed robbers who entered with them.

Sometimes I wish I lived on my own island.

Sheila said...

Thanks for an international perspective, Jackie. Where indeed is one safe these days? My country aunts both keep guns and know how to use them. Are we going to go back to the days of vigilante justice? Shoot first and ask questions later?

Marion said...

Wow. It sounds drastic. I was astounded by the number of gated communities we saw when we visited the States years ago. They were almost non-existent here.

But they are making their way to the Island too.

Robert Frost entered my mind, too...I was happy to see the Mending Wall!

Sheila said...

Marion, I find it interesting that your island would need protecting. Are people just wanting to isolate themselves? Robert Frost was popular for a reason. I always enjoy rereading his poems.