Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I grew up in a world without fences. The large field behind our house, which really backed up to three houses had not even a shadow to show where a property line ended and another began.

I don’t like fences. They make it hard to run.

Once when I was small I did 700 somersaults in a very straight line across the back yard for no particular reason. I can’t imagine a way that a fence could have crossed that field and not interrupted that 700 somersault record. I think it’s a matter of priorities—breaking somersault recording seems inherently superior to maintaining fences to me.

“Fences make good neighbors,” they say. I say keep me away from that neighborhood please. If I need a fence to communicate where things begin and end with another person, I think I’d rather live someone where else.

I have a high level of tolerance and lots of room for differences. If my neighbor makes even the slightest room for a flower or two that happens to grow over the property line, I think we’ll be fine neighbors without fences. Besides, I’ve hardly met any of my neighbors anywhere I’ve lived anyway. So I think they’re safe.

Fences scare me just a little I think. They give me the impression that someone needed to draw a line in the sand. They say, “This is mine and not yours.” Fences keep something out or keep something in. I don’t like things that separate. Even if someone leaves the fence open for me, I know that it’s closed for someone else. I know that once it was closed for me too and that could be again. No, I don’t like fences. I bet I didn’t like playpens either.

Oh, I understand in places where houses are one on top of another that fences are the only way that people can have privacy. They’re almost a necessity. Fences serve a function something like clothes. That’s something different. I can even allow for big, beautiful mansions that need fences for security from the stalking masses. Those are for protection. I don’t want some Hollywood celebrity kidnapped because his fence was missing.

But the rest of us don’t really need to mark our territory with bricks, wood, and stone walls. Do we? We could use flowers, and hedges, and trees. They’re not really fences. They might branch out and actually bring us together. We could trade cut flowers. Blackberry bushes are fun. While we picked blackberries, we might even talk to each other and eat a few together.

Okay. So it was just an idea.
—me strauss Letting me be


fineartist said...

It’s just a beautiful idea, both in spirit and aesthetically.

This post brings the lyrics of The Sign to my lips, and fingers, “…put up this fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in? If God was here he’d tell it to your face, man your some kind of sinner.”

amorson said...

Fences are here to keep you away as much as to protect you.

Sometimes the concept of fences is a little disturbing.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Lori,
Thank you for reading me. Now and all of this year. You bring suck insight and thoughtfulness. I learn from you.

ME Strauss said...

Hello Amorson,
Yes, I agree. The concept of fences, if you really start thinking about it can get to be most disturbing. The idea of being a "fence sitter" starts to look almost appealing.
Thank you for reading what I wrote and for saying what you think.

Trée said...

Liz, love this post. I would like to say alot but I can't think of a way to say it better than you just did. So, I'll just settle in my big warm chair and soak it all in.

ME Strauss said...

Thanks Tree.
I've actually been thinking on this one for several days. It had many shapes and forms before it became this one.
I'm delighted that you like it.

Doug said...

"Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above." I still think the Muppets version is the best.

Betty said...

I'm with you, Liz. One of my first acts, upon moving into my house, was to tear out a section of fence separating my property from the city park. Neighbors were stunned. "Why, that's illegal!" "That fence is owned by the city, you know!!!" "Now you'll have all kinds of riffraff on your property!" In truth, nothing bad has happened; only good, like the occasional curious dog dropping by or a neighbor who perceives the opening as an invitation for a chat. No riffraff, no lawsuits, no burglars. I theorize that my display of trust actually creates good will and trustworthy behavior. I've left expensive bikes and other things outside, and have never had any sign of tampering.

fineartist said...

Suck insight? Heheheh. I know it’s a typo. A typo that brought a smile to my face on this fine, sunshine filled morning. I think I’ll go outside and suck around a bit. Heeeeeeeee.

Will I ever outgrow my dorkiness? Oh I hope not.

I have enjoyed reading your ideas, and feeling your feelings, you’re the mistress of words chicky.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Doug,
I think you're right, the Muppets' version is the best.

ME Strauss said...

Good for you Betty,
It's about time someone took a stand that the park and the neighbors can be friends.
Now I'm about to burst out in song from Oklahoma! :)

ME Strauss said...

Ahh, Lori, I suck insight. (big grin) The words do their own thing. I just type them.


dog1net said...

I love both the playfulness of the tone and the seriousness of the intent. I've never particularly cared for fences either, and would much rather see the openness of the world, 700 somersaults and all. Neat.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Scot,
Thank you for your comments.
It was several days, maybe a week in my head that I was trying to figure out haow to say this one. So obviously it wanted to be said. :P

mergrl said...

just wonderful my friend!
hope all is well with you (hugs)

ME Strauss said...

Hi mergrl,
Thank you.
All is well. I'm working hard.
Hope you are well too.