Friday, July 19, 2013

A fence post

Growing up in Carmichael, California we had no fences on either side of the house. My parents were from Chicago and the other neighbors were from Utah and they all said forget the fences and went with bushes at the property lines. There are lots of places in the US that do the very same thing, using just hedges to say this is yours and this is mine and I don't mind if you look over and see me grilling my kebabs.

Having come to terms with the fact that fences in Sacramento are not a passing fancy, I still prefer the unfenced front yard. Plant your shade trees, put in some nice flowers, paint your door a fun color, but please let's not go all Fort Knox, OK? But try telling that to an Eastern European. They love their fences and gates, it is a national treasure. The entire country of Romania is a gated community.

This is a very poor country and the houses and people we have seen are in fairly desperate straits. I have not felt comfortable photographing much of it. This is a quilt blog and I'm not from National Geographic. But I've had some opportunities to go through lots of gates. Falling down gates. Sagging gates. Gates being held up with chicken wire and a prayer. They lead into humble plots full of vegetable gardens and fruit trees, chickens and geese, pigs and dogs. And people doing their best to get by. 

Mending Wall

  by Robert Frost

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill...
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each...
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.  It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
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.'  

He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'