Who Says Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. ~ John F. Kennedy

My news feed is filled with political articles about building impenetrable fences and walls. Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall represents a very common sentiment among neighbors everywhere. “Good fences make good neighbors.” But, is this statement true?

Geography has made us neighbors to all the wandering cattle along our beach path. Living on a predominantly agricultural island, I have learned that fences here are built to keep the cattle, wandering pigs, and horses out…definitely not people. I prefer it that way.

I dislike impenetrable walls with electric fences and shards of sharp glass clinging to the tops of the walls like prisons. That’s one of the main reasons we chose to live in a rural area surrounded by gracious neighbors with whom we can share our lives.

I understand that human relationships need boundaries. Robert Frost’s poem is a metaphor for establishing one’s boundaries.  When boundaries are clear, human relationships prosper. But, we needed a new fence to keep out the cows who have no understanding of human nature.

Economics has made us partners in building our fence.
Jose needed work, and we needed a strong young man to mix cement.

IMG_9114Even our youngest neighbor, Issac, pitched in to help us build our fence. That’s what good neighbors do in Nicaragua.

IMG_9110Necessity has made us allies in Nicaragua. Let’s face it. Without the help of our neighbors, we would be lost. I do not have a green thumb. Marina knows that. The other evening, Marina and her father planted flowers in my flower bed in front of our house. Early the next morning, Marina stretched her hose across our property line and watered the newly planted flowers…and they bloomed! That’s what a good neighbor does. 

Julio rakes and cleans our property for us. He takes our dog Cappy running with him and climbs our tall coconut trees to gather coconuts for us. Necessity has made us allies because we are getting too old to climb coconut trees and run miles along the beach with our dog. 🙂

IMG_9117With my new weed-eater, I can buzz through our tall grass while our neighbors help us do other things around our property.

IMG_9113History has made us friends. Our relationship with our neighbors goes back 12 years. We laugh, cry, and joke together. We share our joys and our sorrows. I would trust them with our lives and I know they feel the same way about us. Our cultural boundaries need no walls or fences…only loving kindness, respect, and understanding.

IMG_9118Who says good fences make good neighbors? I  learned that in Nicaragua, impenetrable fences are for animals, not people.

IMG_8538Do you believe good fences make good neighbors?

14 thoughts on “Who Says Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

  1. I loved seeing the photo of you! As for fences, they can make good neighbors when, as mentioned above, they keep animals out of places they’re not supposed to be. They can also be useful if you have small children or dogs. 🙂 But good neighbors are invaluable.


    • Thanks, Janet. I love my new weed-eater. It took me 3 years and a frozen shoulder from using my handheld weed wacker to decide to buy a gasoline one. 🙂 Oh, I forgot all about fences to keep puppies contained. We had to build a small fence around our back yard to contain our wild puppy. Now, that he is older, he comes when he is called and we can let him chase lizards on our property. That’s his favorite thing to do. lol

  2. Hi, Debbie, lovely post. I hate those fences with broken glass, as well. Who wants to feel like you’re in a prison compound? I think I’d dislike a gated community, too, I don’t know. I do understand the need for fences to keep animals out…as far as making good neighbors with good fences, I’m on the fence with that one, lol. You have lovely neighbors! Have fabulous day~

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