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.
Necessity 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. 🙂
History 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.