Sunday, August 7, 2011
Three strands of barbed wire, once stretched tightly between wooden posts, now droop in lazy curves. Some of the sturdy posts were replaced long ago with bent branches, deadfall from sturdy oaks. Crooked posts, crooked wires, crooked fences marking crooked lines.
There are old fences in all states of repair and disrepair along the country road I take to work and back each day. Some follow the road's curves and straightaways, others take off from the asphalt and disappear over hills and into meadows.
A few of the enclosed fields are inhabited by horses or cattle; others sport driveways and dwellings. Their fences efficiently separate the wild from the domesticated.
But it's hard to tell what some of the barriers are meant to divide; the lush and scraggly green grasses look exactly the same on both sides of the man-made line, as do the towering oaks and the spreading manzanita. Seasonal creeks have undercut them here and there, and old trees have thrown discarded branches across them in other places.
It's as though these markers of civilization's edges. placed in the ground by so much muscle and sweat many years ago, have gone over to the other side. The wood and iron have gone feral. Abandoning, or having been abandoned by their human creators, they fend for themselves amidst the wildlife. Now it is the boundary of wilderness they mark, the territory of the deer, wild turkey, quail, raccoons, foxes, and other inhabitants.