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Mending Modern Walls & Why We Love Fences

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“Mending Wall,” a poem by Robert Frost published in 1914, tells the tale of a man who meets his neighbor every spring to rebuild the wall that splits their property after another year of decay and disturbance. It’s a very short poem, but it says a lot about the nature of people, then and now.

In the poem, his neighbor famously proclaims that “Good fences make good neighbors,” but the author is not so sure. Indeed, he begins the piece by expressing his doubts in perhaps the second-most famous – although more often forgotten – opening line: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”

Having a fence can be messy ...

Frost is suggesting that the wall needs constant repair because to be without walls is our more natural state: Fences keep us apart while nature and the cosmic forces of the universe act to join us together.

It’s a powerful notion, but not one without a sense of irony that Frost notes later. He seems to realize that if it weren’t for the wall, and he and his neighbor’s annual mending tradition, he’d never have a reason to talk to the guy in the first place.

... but people still love them.

It’s borderline creepy how well Frost understood the nature of people, and how well he expressed it in just a few lines of prose. If he were alive today, he wouldn’t be surprised to find that people who remember his poem at all would quote his neighbor’s sentiment over his own: “Good fences make good neighbors!”

Of course, Frost could have never predicted the forces that have come to bear on society today. Invasive technology, coupled with rising concerns over privacy, has led many to believe that fences are more necessary now than ever before in history.

And, they probably always will. 

In the end, though, Frost wouldn’t have needed a crystal ball to foretell the enduring importance of fences.

At the close of his poem, he notes that his neighbor “moves in darkness” – darkness cast by the shadow of the past – and that his neighbor's belief in putting up walls has been instilled in him by his father. In other words, this is what people always do, because it's in our nature to build walls regardless of any cosmic external forces.

To say whether having a fence is good or bad is a matter of circumstance. Sometimes you just need a fence. And, if you do, you can get a great one by contacting a local fencing contractor through Porch.com.

 

Backyard X-Scapes makes the job easy with real bamboo fencing in different heights and lengths you can roll out and install anywhere. 

Oriental Furniture makes fencing in different sizes for use in various applications and comes ready to install. 

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