by Saralyn Richard
Do good fences make good neighbors? In the past few months, I’ve gained new neighbors on either side of my house. There’s a brand-spanking-new fence between my yard and that of the neighbor to the north. There’s no fence between my yard and that of the neighbor to the south. I love both sets of neighbors. We’ve shared lots of visits in our front yards, several barbecues and parties, baked goods, pets, children, home improvement advice, and more. They may be pine, and I, apple orchard, but I enjoy spending time with them and being part of their community.
Robert Frost’s MENDING WALL is one of my favorite poems. His last line is the source for my opening question. I find a lot of wisdom in this poem:
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.’
The same analogy applies to my relationships with fellow authors in The Stiletto Gang. I may be police procedural and they cozy writers, but we have much in common, and we can help each other every time we meet to walk the line and re-build the wall (which might just be the website). I’m grateful for my neighbors, my Stiletto Gang colleagues, and everyone who reads this post. May all your walls be mended, and may all your neighbors be good.
Award-winning author and educator, Saralyn Richard writes about people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools. She loves beaches, reading, sheepdogs, the arts, libraries, parties, nature, cooking, and connecting with readers.