Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Climbing Fences

We have a wooden fence on our back property line which is ancient. Over the past nine years, I have often lamented that this fence needs replacement. Since we moved on to the property we call home, this fence has been in an ongoing state of decay. It wobbles when leaned upon. It shakes when climbed. From afar it is an eyesore to most people. Sometimes I have been embarrassed.

This fence is so old that lichens grow from the wood and the shedding paint peels, entropy doing what it must. There is not much left of the white shine that used to cover the wood, but of that I am glad. In the past year, I have come to appreciate the more subtle attributes of this woebegone friend. There is a character and life there, which before I did not notice until I looked more closely.

Between the cracks and crevices where the paint no longer protects the wood, little universes exist. Microcosms, mini-universes unseen to our naked eye. Decomposition, insect havens, fungi. Paint flakes form a mosaic accented by sulfur-colored apothecia. As one kingdom of white picket fences crumbles another arises from the neglect and decay.

Rotting wood disintegrates where nail holes weaken cellulose. Boards tip from their once rightful position to hang and stretch down, down, down, slowly sinking as age and gravity pulls them to the earth.

This fence has character and personality. It is transparent and yet complex. It shows it's age with a story. If you climb this fence you could get hurt. It's a precarious adventure with a certain amount of risk. Who climbs these old fences? Not many people.

Another fence with another story lies in the distance. It is a fence of different color. A different make. A different purpose. This fence does not support living things, it contains them. It holds them from flight. It keeps them safe from themselves.

This metal fence, made of steel pipe, will last far longer than the wooden one. But it must be constructed of sturdier material to corral the animals who reside inside.

A lone mare isolated from her herd paces the fence line wondering when she will be returned to her friends.

With winter rains, the horses are locked in their stalls and paddocks and each have a turn in the round pen to frolic within the circle of metal bars. Freedom within a cage . . . But there's room to run and room to buck and that is something. There's just enough room to let off steam.

But it's still lonely in there.

Then a boy shows up. He's determined to cross the line. Meet the prisoner. Join the gang. This fence is stout and strong with no visible wobbles. He can climb it!

And the mare says, "Who are you?"

The boy says, "HEY! That tickles!" But he keeps climbing.

Then there is the stand off.

The Boy observes the Horse observing him.

Finally, a friendly gesture over a fence could mean the world to this someone.

I am glad this boy climbed the fence and that the fence could hold him. What fence should we each climb this season and can it stand being climbed?


Rural Rambler said...

The wooden fence makes for some awesome pictures though Julia!

I thought there for a second The Boy was going to get a little nip on the butt from Gemma Horse. She was good! Sweet pictures of Wyatt and Gemma Horse. Wow I do love me a Bay Mare!

Karen said...

I love that!


I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

God Bless You :-)


Pricilla said...

Boys cannot resist climbing a fence.

Dawn said...

Julia - that wooden fence is lovely and has great character. If you ever take it down, you could put part of it in your flower garden.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Well, I love the old fence, but a boy and a horse is a wonderful thing!

Julie Harward said...

I loved your post...really took me back to being a kid and the farm I was raised on and all the fences I walked and climbed on to sit on my horses back, with no bridle, just love. Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas will be wonderful :D

Frogs in my formula said...

Your last question has left me thinking...I'm going to write that down and try to answer it after it's simmered.

As always, wonderful photos. Love coming here. Have a great holiday!

theUngourmet said...

Wonderful post, Julia! The words and the photos are just right for this time of year! Have a very Merry Christmas!

Doris Sturm said...

What an interesting and lovely story, Julia. I really enjoyed it and started to tear up when "the boy" reached out to the lonely mare.

I have several fences that I should climb, but I'm afraid my big butt would just pull me back down ;-) figuratively speaking!

I just wanted to say that you and your family have a special place in my hear - probably because your posts are fun and you love animals and you live in California (where I lost my heart) ... there's only one other blog I seek out and not wait to get notified of a new post because I enjoy visiting with you and your fam.

Please give my best wishes (hugs and kisses) to the kids and tell them some ole lady in Georgia is thinking of them ... I hope Santa will be good to them this year!

Merry Christmas, Julia, to you and your family.

With love,
Doris and the Gizz

DayPhoto said...

I love the old fences...we have old wooden fences and we have the new metal ones.

Happy New Year!


Ratty said...

Such a beautiful story. It makes the whole world seem just a little bit nicer.

Grand Pooba said...

You take the best pictures! You should be a photographer. You know, in your "spare time".

(Come get an award on the old neglected blog of mine)

San-Dee said...

just catching up, lovely photos and story. Bingo might have some competition if Gemma starts to write her memoirs.....

xxooxx to all the fam for the holidays.

Vixen/Apron Frenzy said...

That fence has character and tenacity, like me!

Great pics, Julia.

Sara said...

What an awesome post! Fence climbing brings back so many memories. The picture of him reaching back to pet her made my day. What a great capture! Overall, I prefer wooden fences. The answer to your question is percolating, I'm not sure what fence I want to climb. Sometimes the fence just rises up out of nowhere and it is an instantaneous decision to go up and over or to follow along until I find a gate.

Great blog!

Aunt Spicy said...

totally love both fences, but the boy and the horse is priceless

Mountain Woman said...

Stopping by to say hi. Your photos are beautiful and there is much joy in climbing fences. We have no fences this time of year. Buried in snow but no animal ventures far because the snow is too deep. Here's to fences and spring.

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