Friday, October 27, 2006

Sitting on Rock Fences

Sitting on fences will make you pain in the ass. . . . Alan Parsons Project, Try Anything Once.

Around the corner from where I live are many historical houses. Most of them are single family dwellings. At the end near my building is a prestigious day school, it has a wrought iron fence along the sidewalk. That seems to make it fit in with the houses.

The people in the beautiful houses live behind fences that are tall and black. The fences are iron bars that reach up to make spikes at the top – no sitting on the fence where those people live – at their houses you are in or you’re out.

Folks can see inside the fences, but no one can reach into habitats. A well-cared for Japanese garden with a small bridge graces a lawn. English gardens and porches decorate yards and houses. But the people don’t come out to see them. The people must be very busy or hiding like zoo animals do.

The wrought iron fence at the school is less. The ground was raised and has a concrete wall surround. I sit on the wall in daylight, watching people on the sidewalk. I find my way there in the dark of night to stare through the trees up at the sky. Sitting on that fence wall, I become part of the scenery. I become a private observer. Fence sitting there is invisible.

I’m uncut stone fence sitter by nature. Uncut stone walls have personality and like to play. Uncut stones won’t put up with folks who “sit on the fence” about being there. Rocks of all shapes and sizes that don't interlock require I find a place that fits and that I commit to it. Even when I’m still and settled, such a fence is prone to move a bit, rocking, tipping, swaying, sometimes sliding me right to the ground.

I make friends with a rock fence, but eventually it gets uncomfortable. I have to make friends with it again and again. Rock fences aren’t fair or predictable. They can't be ruled. They can't be tamed. They are what they are and that’s it. It takes experience and adaptability to sit on a rock fence with complete commitment, knowing that I’m never safe and I’m neversure that the fence won’t shift.

Sitting on a rock fence reminds me of living my life.

−me strauss Letting me be


Dawn said...

Liz, what a wonderful analogy you draw here.

I lived in a rural area for awhile where stone fences were common. They were old, and felt so much more friendly than other fences, especially the wrought iron ones you speak of. They were low, and really weren't for keeping people or animals out. They were more a way of saying that my property goes this far, and then yours begins. The stones were ones cleared from the land so that they could plant crops.

Now, the next time I see one, I'll have to see what it feels like to sit there for a bit. :)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Dawn,
Thank you. I've thinking about the idea of people who "sit the fence" on issues. Sitting on fences is harder than one might think. :)

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