Our neighbors put up a fence in the fall. It was an odd looking thing. The posts were too tall for it and had weird spindle things on top – like someone had bought the left overs of different fence projects and tried to put them together as one. They assembled and set up the whole thing in one day. It fell down during a storm a couple of weeks later.
A few weeks after the storm, they put the fence back up. It fell down again during a particularly windy and rainy weekend.
Today they are out in their yard putting the fence up for the third time. I don’t know about you, but I think this shows a remarkable level of determination. Each time the fence goes up again, the same two guys come over, drag out the same tools, place the posts in the same holes and attach the same fence pieces. It doesn’t appear that they ever dig the post holes deep enough or put enough support around the posts to keep them in. The fence has never stayed up long enough for them to treat the wood with any type of water protection, so the whole thing will probably rot before they get it to stay up and I’m nearly 100% sure that this fence raising attempt will be as unsuccessful as the last 2.
But each time I spot work being done on the fence, I’m filled with a little bit of sweet hope that this time will be the time of success – that the fence will stand and will stay standing. This time will be the time that no wind or soggy ground will knock it over. This time they have learned the lessons of the last few failures and made the adjustments necessary to make it work.
I’m feeling nostalgic about a silly fence. I can’t help it. This week has been brutal. I am frustrated by facing and losing the same challenges time and again – I feel like that stupid fence – that each time I think I’ve dug the posts deep enough and set things right again, the whole thing falls down and I am left with the choice to leave it rotting on the ground or try to put it back up again. I know that really the only choice worth choosing is to drag out my tools and try again; hoping I’ve learned the lessons, done the research, asked the right people the right questions, put in the work that will allow the fence to stand this time. It is exhausting, and I’m sure each time my neighbors looked out their window to see the fence lying on the ground yet again they felt similar to how I’m feeling. But they keep going back out there and setting the thing up again. They have two little girls who love to play in the back yard and they want to keep them safe back there – so each time that fence falls down, back at it they go. It is inspiring.
So here’s to my tenacious neighbors and their fence and the reminder that you should always try again.
I hope that this is the time that the little fence that could – does.