This topic congers up romantic visions doesn’t it? For the FSO we have had this topic twice before; January 2010 and May of 2012. I am going to quote myself from the first post on fences, this is not an ego trip, I promise, but I said something apropos to today’s thought and will use the same words again to jump start this week, “… thinking back, thinking about all the places, the towns large and small, that I have visited, I began to see that FENCES are one of the details about towns that give it its distinctive flavor. Fences reflect base cultures. The designs reflect the personalities of its inhabitants. They show how the town’s people relate to others, its neighbors and its visitors. Even no fences tells us something about the towns and its people. …”
This week I am once again writing from Adrian Michigan. Visiting with my sister and her family, and spending extended time with my mother. Walking this small town and carrying my camera about, I began looking for examples of the 4 topics that will pass while I am here. My knowledge of this town is pretty extensive. I lived here as a teen and a young mother, have been back routinely to visit and have seen the town now, this month, through new eyes – the FSO eyes. Unlike Houston with its high cedar, often rickety looking fences and Nova Friburgo’s high concrete block, vine covered walls, Adrian does not have fencing. Oh, there are some breaks between properties, but they are open wire giving a clear view through the neighbors yard and often on to the next street. Here there seems to be wide expanses of green and everyone’s trees and flowers to enjoy. The fences are not connected at the corners or have gates that say ‘stay out’; they are just pieces of fence to hold a rose bush, sweet peas or what seems to be a town favorite – a trumpet vine.
Not having been to ALL cities (towns or villages) of the world and not having made a scientific, psychological study of towns I can’t say for sure why we have these differences but I will go out on a limb and say that in large cities with their teeming masses, there seems to be a deep need to close out all the unknown people, mark your space, keep it private, and in small towns like Adrian there is not a need, nor a possibility to keep your neighbors out, at arms length. They know all your business regardless of fencing. You know their names and the names of their children. You know when they bought their last new sofa! At least in this small northern city fences are not part of the landscape and it is fun to give some thought as to why.