New Englanders have a love-hate relationship with walls and fences. We want privacy, but we don’t want to offend. We want connection with our neighbors, but not too much. Then we shy away from the cost of walls and fences and miss that great opportunity to build ourselves an inner sanctum of beauty and privacy.
In Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” he clearly had the notion to take issue with walls or fences used for the sole purpose of claiming territory. It was his neighbor who felt strongly that “good fences made good neighbors.” Frost thought fences were good when one kept cows!
Well, most of us aren’t keeping cows these days, but we can find other reasons to put up a very beautiful fence or an intriguing wall.
We lead busy lives and often just want to feel snugly insulated at home while enjoying nature outside. We long for a private, peaceful outdoor respite right there. Perhaps this legitimate reason might entice Robert Frost to reconsider his position on walls and fences between neighbors.
On a recent trip to Dallas, Texas for a biannual meeting of my Leader’s Edge peer group, I found myself intrigued by the beauty of the residential landscapes in the area. What so many of them had in common was fencing; not just board fencing, but gorgeous six or eight-foot stucco walls or tall intricate latticed walls, all with interesting gates and doors.