Good fences make good neighbors. Robert Frost said it and I think he was correct.
I like my neighbors. We get along quite well. But I also like my privacy and I respect theirs. A fence, especially a solid fence, helps that along. I've always felt that my home is my sanctuary. If I am forced to be an involuntary witness to my neighbors life and they to mine, that safe place feels sullied. I feel more vulnerable and I don't especially like that.
So months ago, when our neighbors to our North came over to tell us that they were going to replace the fence between us my first question was, what sort of fence. When I learned that it was to be another privacy fence, I was relieved and had no further input on the entire fence issue. Pretty much whatever they wanted to do beyond that was fine with me.
The fence guys began working earlier this week. They were kind enough to stop by and tell me that they had started and to ask if they needed to be concerned about dogs or small children since they would be in our yard as much as the neighbors yard (actually as it turns out even more as the fence line is far more accessible from our side). No dogs, on small children and be my guest was my response.
It was a rather ordinary wood fence, silvered by time and weather but it did the job separating our properties. Between the mounds of various sorts of greenery and this fence, I barely was aware of the existence of my neighbors at all. The fence, behind all the trees and plants, looked like this:
They began work on Monday and immediately got to work taking down the panels between the posts. With very large and very loud saws buzzing and a little 'encouragement", the fence guys fought their way through the jungles of green on both sides of the fence, cutting and heaving and thumping and crashing until they had a few huge piles of fence panels sitting in both yards. I checked on their progress periodically because, well, I wasn't absolutely certain where the property line was and I was curious to see where the project would actually end.
You see, the neighbors to our North are also our neighbors to our East. Their land runs on a diagonal beside and a little behind us. They are the house that stands between us and a view of the water. They have it, we don't. I knew I would learn something from this project that I had been at least vaguely curious about for some time.
At the end of the first day, I could see into their yard, and they could see into mine for the first time ever. I knew it was temporary but it was still an odd feeling to look out and see only fence posts between us. I"m all about having a view, but this wasn't the view I really wanted. Although my neighbors are rarely actually in residence, I don't especially want too look directly into their yard. Or even at their guest house. That's what this building is, not their actual house, but their guest house. I also wasn't wild about people looking directly into our yard or house.
To my surprise the fence guys didn't return again until yesterday. This time they brought a bigger truck, to stack all those wood panels in and a bobcat that careened madly up and down our driveway, our sideyard and our backyard all day long. Like Giant Angry Bumble Bee. More sawing, more sledgehammering, a full day of crashing and banging and now, there are no fence posts either. And I see that the guest house has a little grill and obviously that is the AC unit for it too.
It's the oddest thing. The neighbors property now feels so much closer to me than it did without the fence. I honestly never realized how little space there is between us before. Both of our houses sit a ways back from the road. Both of us have lots of greenery in front of our houses. So we really saw very little evidence of each other up until this point. Interesting.
I have no idea when the fence guys will be back. But they did tell me that the new fence will not be wood but instead some sort of PVC material. I wonder if it will be white? I've seen those before. The only reason I ask about the colour is because now that they are done removing the fence I know exactly where my neighbors property line ends behind us. It stops about half way across our backyard. And there reason I know this is because:
Their real house, well part of it, is the building on the left seen through the big gap where the fence with all of it's lovely climbing florals is missing a big section behind the pretty purple flowers. I usually can only see just the roof of their house. So ultimately, when the fence guys return, they will put new fence up and I wonder how they segue properly between the vine covered wooden fence and the PVC fence? If it's a different colour too that will look, interesting. Kind of a harlequin effect.
But you know what? I don't care. As long as the fence is replaced I'm fine. I will feel safe and protected once again. I will have privacy again. I will no longer have noisy, fence building strangers with insane bobcat drivers out tearing up my lawn and honestly most of the fence is behind trees and shrubs and won't be very visible anyway.
And you know what? Even if it sticks out like a sore thumb I still won't care because there will once again be a fence and our property will again be our sanctuary.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.