I didn’t lose sleep pondering Robert Frost and his poem Mending Wall last night. But I thought of them when I glanced out our back door and caught the tip of our neighbor’s hat bobbing up and then down on the other side of our back fence.
Our neighbor who has been our neighbor behind us for two years.
Our neighbor whose name we do not know. Nor whose face we’ve ever seen. Just the bobbing of his hat at the top of the fence these last two days as he digs–a garden maybe? I do not know.
I hovered feet away from our tangible boundary, taking in the clink of his shovel as he took in the voices of my kids calling first to each other and then to me. I felt paralyzed. Should I say, “yoo hoo?” and wait? Should I say, “hey, nice hat?”
Or should I do what I did? Which was say nothing like I would if I met someone in a public restroom whom I fully heard pee–Only, thanks to that 3/4 inch wall separating our toilets the two of us could pretend that nothing happened between us–nobody heard anything. We’re just two people washing our hands.
Maybe Frost just said it best. “Good fences make good neighbors.”
But like Frost, I want to know, “Why do they make good neighbors?”
Frost explains… “Before I built a wall, I’d like to know what I was walling in or walling out…”
This morning I walked toward our raspberries and beheld our neighbors to our left repairing the fence between us that has all but laid down and slept in their yard. Two whole fence panels were missing.
Only the hole didn’t just expose their yard to ours. And vice versa. It breathed discomfort. Somehow we weren’t fully dressed without that fence fixed. That wall. That pseudo-separator between our lives.
And so I wondered, “do good fences make good neighbors?”
“Do good neighbors make good fences?”
Seems I’ll ponder that tonight.