A fence used to span the back edge of our property. It blew down years ago in a winter storm. Since my husband and I grew up in the midwest and east where houses are not enclosed with fences—and because we are not energetic caretakers--we have not replaced the fence. Backing up to our fenceless lot is a large grassy field with a nursing home on the other side. The only activity at the far end of that grassy lot is the staff shift change and the weekly garbage pick-up.
At least once a year, we talk about whether or not we should spend the money to replace the fence. And every year, we surmise that it seems unnecessary. There are so many other purposes for our funds that a fence just never rises to the top of the list.
There is travel, the panacea for any of life’s woes, stresses, anxieties, or difficulties. There are drives into the agricultural central valley of California that leave me appreciating all the food I eat that grows in dirt or water. The fields are green and brown and yellow and red. They might stretch for miles toward the foothills of the Sierra range. We see egrets strutting in the shallow water of the rice fields searching for frogs and little fish, kestrels waiting on fence posts for some small creature to emerge between the rows. We might happen upon a winery with a tasting room where we are offered glasses of some unknown vintage in the hopes we will buy some and, better yet, recommend the label to our friends and family.
When we’re feeling especially needy for relief from the valley fog or heat, we drive to the Monterey Bay—our favorite spot in California where the only fence is the shoreline. We’re not sun bunnies, but we gravitate toward a particular beach in Pacific Grove where the tide pools continue to fascinate us long after we stumbled across it many years ago when the boys were younger.
At the end of the day, we always return to our fenceless home--renewed by the image of sea foam or fertile valley.