Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mending Fences

Last fall a couple of our fence posts started to give way.  Hubby put some braces in place to keep the fence standing through the winter and yesterdays weather gave us an opportunity to take a closer look at what needed to be done to fix the posts.

As my husband began to dig, I found myself daydreaming about a yard without a fence.  The way it used to be when I was a kid.  An entire neighbourhood without a fence in sight.

Ahhhh, the memories of being able to run from one end of town to the next, through the backyards of folks that have known my family for eons.

I wanted to run over to the neighbours house right then and present them with the idea of 'open concept' backyard living.  Imagine the cost and time savings (lets be honest we're going to have to start replacing ALL of those fence posts sooner or later).  No more long grass growing up under the fence and not being able to fully see the person you are speaking to on the other side.  I even imagine sharing gardens; helping eachother cultivate, weed and harvest the bounty.  I envision our dogs playing with one another and creating an extended family of their own.  Neighbours helping eachother.  Without fences to keep us separate you can see what your neighbours are up to and what they could use a hand with. 

I feel like we're too preoccupied with barriers and boundaries these days.  About how to keep people out of our business.  Keep our privacy private.  Fences keep us from engaging with one another. 

Without fences, your neighbours become a part of your family.  You hear the arguments, you hear the love.  You co-experience their grief and their joy. 

The thought crosses my mind when I see a house that has been abandoned and taken over by the banks.  I wonder if we took down the fences, welcomed our neighbours onto 'our' land, became connected if houses would stop being abandoned.  If we could somehow create an energy in our communities that enabled even those who struggle to make ends meet to create more abundance in their life so they could stay in the house and neighbourhood that they loved.

Back in the day you never heard of anyone losing their home.  It may be because we were better with our money but it may also be because back in the day we lived in communities, not just homes.  We lived amongst friends, not strangers (and if you were a stranger you weren't one for long).

What if we lived in a world where there were no fences?  I wonder what life would look like if we lived with open concept backyards again.  Connected and conjoined instead of separate and boxed in.

I wonder if we would all start feeling like we belong instead of like we are being 'kept out'.  I wonder how many people dream of 'open concept' backyard living like I do? 


  1. I agree! There used to be barn raisings and quilting bees. Neighbours worked together for the greatest good of each other. That was a time when a simple hand shake became a binding contract. A time when a skill trade became an indespensible bartaring tool. Our society has lost tounch with the simple things in life and the true sense of community. Progress may not be all it's cracked up to be.

  2. I believe it is in the simple things like removing fences that create profound change in our lives. Imagine the trees we could save if we decided fences were no longer a necessity! The list of benefits are endless :)


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