Home Recommended Reading Workshops About RSS

Mending Fences

Part of spring’s endeavor is to set out and see what damage has been made by winter’s cast. I had to prune numerous branches from rhododendrons with frozen rifts. There is a noticeable sag in the raised bed in the side yard and the fencing for privacy needs a fresh coat of paint this year.

Our hedges are downsized so that as our neighbors emerge into yard work and potting frenzies we can wave, exchange words and get caught up in person. Our laurel and rhododendron hedges; stone wall all need attention at this time of the year.

rock wall

Such is the nature of boundaries – markers in our lives. They need attention and inspection at least once a year. They need pruning, modifying and just plain scrutiny to figure out what they are delineating, enabling, or deflecting. Personal boundaries are the foundation of our ethical behavior and actions. It is important to figure them out and use them well; to your benefit and your preservation.

The bread is just out of the oven and it has a lovely top hat of oven spring, but it needed the shape of the pan to keep it to a useful size and form. Sometimes the bread rises too high and spills over, and sometimes it is too condensed and is distinctly difficult to slice or consume.

Many who live in the USA are quick to hug or extend too fast into personal conversation with strangers and sometimes do not know if this behavior pushes on another’s boundaries and expectations. In the blog world, we need to be quick to clarify and be sure of communications and double check as to what another is interpreting and feeling from our inter dialogue.

Boundaries are not something that is set in stone within us. Boundaries need our attention and when we learn something new they need shifting or re-alignment.

This is not a new activity as a matter of fact I was reminded of one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost called Mending Wall that I wish to share with you:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing.
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Sometimes there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Do boundaries wall you in or wall you out? Do knowing the scales and chords enhance your music and creativity or restrict? How do you identify your boundaries and make them work for you?

11 Responses to “Mending Fences”

  1. Dot Says:

    As you know, boundaries are a big issue for me, and as a result, I tend to over-enforce them. The sad result is that sometimes I push people away in the early stages of knowing them, which only makes it tougher when I decide I want to be friends with them.

    Dots last blog post..Feelings About Spring

  2. Vered - MomGrind Says:

    I love your writing. The paragraph on the bread – loved it.

    Despite having a bog, I’m a very private person. My main concern is that it limits my writing, but I don’t think it’s going to change. I don’t think I want it to.

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..Fear of Rape

  3. Patricia Says:

    I too have a great problem with boundaries – if I am not careful I just sponge up other people’s emotions and I have been trained to do those emotions for them….I get fairly exhausted being in public after my time in isolation. I am practicing. Good to do the hard things.

    Thank you for you lovely words. I am breaking down the Ethics workshop into tiny bites of understanding….and integrating the ideas into me and my thinking – It is sometimes a moment when I think my writing is at it’s best.
    I think you have your boundaries well in place and they meet your needs and the blog allows you a measured reveal. Because the boundaries are clear others are drawn to you and your words- they feel very safe. I think that would be a lovely way to be – sharing wonderful information and the readers feel safe in their learning and understanding.

  4. Mark Says:

    This is an important post. I think that the analogy you have used clearly illustrates that we must tend to our boundaries on a regular basis. If we don’t do this we our boundaries fall in to dis-repair and we are unsure of where and what our boundaries are and this can cause confusion, insecurity and frustration, not only for us but also for the other people in our life. Well done, thanks for bringing awareness to this aspect of our being.

    Marks last blog post..The Face of Divinity

  5. Patricia Says:

    I value your comments and appreciate your sharing. I am breaking down my class on ethics into tiny steps because I think folks who work and write on the Internet will need to become more attuned to their own boundaries and borders – as the Internet is a rather boundary-less entity.

  6. Sara Says:


    This is something I will need to think about. Boundaries on-line are bit more difficult because we don’t have the visual or auditory clues (well, most of the time).

    Therefore, setting boundaries and honoring others boundaries can be a challenge.

    Usually what I try do is get a feel for a person through their writing and then keep my responses in tune to that feeling, but I can’t say I’m always successful at this.

    You give me a lot to think about. Thanks:~)

    Saras last blog post..Where’s Waldo? Where’s Sara?

  7. Patricia Says:

    Yes! my ethics class gave me a lot to think about and share…it is a big issue and needs attention in all of our communication efforts

  8. Jannie Funster Says:

    Well, I haven’t learned any scales (such a lazy musician…)

    but as Vered, I have a “bog” I am so happy with. Lots of cranberries there in my bog in October to go with my top hat oven-fresh bread.

    But seriously, I am one of these weird people that can push through peoples’ personal boundaries but not offend them. Luckily for them, I have only friendly intentions. For instance, this one lady whom I know only via cyberland and only for a few months, has seen fit to gift me over many many miles with one bottle of champagne. In celebration of the up-coming milestone of my debut CD release. Right on my doorstep by UPS!!! (I’m going to send her 2 complimentary copies of my CD, which will still leave me greatly in her debt. But I’ll get caught up with her.)

    People just love me!! I must be great? :)

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..I Found My Thrill… on Aventine Hill

  9. Patricia Says:

    You are great and people love you! And that’s the truth…but you need to be careful…

    Oh you have champagne! I hope you will write about enjoying it on my champagne tour and spread that joy!

    Your CD release will be wonderful

  10. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. I enjoyed this post. Robert Frost is my favourite poet.

    I like walls. You can do a lot with them. Lean on them. Sit on them. Climb over them. Write on them. Knock them down and rebuild them. What’s neat is that despite the walls we build around ourselves, we continue to grow and change inside of them. Eventually the wall changes before we can even notice.

    Davinas last blog post..Positively Breathing — A Series Intro

  11. Patricia Says:

    Isn’t Robert Frost so amazing? I just love his writing too…so real