Fences

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It’s surprising how much good you can do for yourself just checking the fences. Thin lines of steel charged with energy that keep your livestock in their places seem to require vigilance. As a child my grandfather would sometimes just get into his truck and tune the AM radio station to the right channel an listen to the pulsating clicks of the fence charger creating a rhythmic static pattern in the signal. It was a way of making sure that the charger was working. If there’s no clicks on the radio then that means that the cattle could get out. Some people think that it’s the barbs that keep the cattle in but I’ve watched cows use the wire as a back scratcher and not be harmed. Only when the fence has a good charge does it really work and even then they might push their way through if the clover on the other side is sweet enough. But I digress. The normal way to check the fence was to walk along with a tester and every so many paces you stick a probe into the ground and hang a light on the wire. If there’s power on the wire the light will blink. Doing it this way also gives you a chance to check for places where the fence might be saggy. Cows aren’t great jumpers but they can jump. But in the process they can become tangled up in wire and if you cow breaks a leg it’s a financial loss.

Depending on the size of the land there are miles to be walked. Certainly there’s a benefit for physical health but there’s also a huge benefit for mind and spirit. It gets you out away from the outside world and because the task isn’t really demanding you find yourself sorting through thoughts that you only partially resolved earlier. Often I would hear my grandfather singing hymns as he walked the fence with the hemp baling twin that he saved from every square bale of hay hanging out of his back pocket. He kinda resembled a rooster which was amusing because his nickname in the community was “Banty Rooster”. There were times when I was a kid that I would practice walking quiet and try to remain unseen. I figured that if I could stay hidden from people that I would be a better hunter when I old enough. A few times I was able to spot my grandfather walking a fence line I was able to creep through the woods and follow him unseen. I remember one time that I caught him praying as he walked. He was talking to God as if God was walking right there with him and they were having a conversation. Later in life I’ve found myself doing the very same thing. Today I don’t live on the farm and I don’t have a fence to maintain but I do catch myself talking to God as if God was walking right there with me. Those kind of prayers seem to have the most beneficial effects on my life. Walking the fence has become a metaphor for unplugging and existing in my natural state of being. It opens up the real me that we all have and that we keep tucked away in order to function in the outside world. That inner person who cries for release and desires nothing more than to be able to be a human being instead of a human doing. I often wonder how many of society’s horrible problems would simply vanish if we dropped our masks and became who we were created to be. In some ways we are the ones behind the fences. Remember that cow that would push through the electric fence if the clover on the other side was sweet enough? It’s right there in front of us now. And the only thing that stands between ourselves and having our desires is the fear of the fence we built ourselves.

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A Mysterious Gate

Tonight’s post has a gate attached.

I stopped by this place on my drive home today just to take this picture. I’ve passed by it often and I’ve liked the rustic look. There’s something about the texture of the weathered wood that I really find appealing. This gate literally leads nowhere. Just a wide spot near the road that I’m pretty sure belongs to the Railroad. (I didn’t pass beyond the gate due to the private property sign hanging on it.)

I suppose that the scene represented a mystery to me.

An open gate that guards an empty lot. A sign that warns you to keep out. And an empty (I presume) gas can. A younger version of myself would not have been deterred by a sign on an open gate. I would have walked right on in just to be rebel. However, today I’m responsible for my own actions and so I’ll have to live with the mystery. But I do have a theory. This gate is there to keep the weeds from running out into the road and causing a traffic accident. 😉🤣

Entanglement

Growing up with livestock means barbed wire. Some people actually collect old rusted samples of it and there’s certain vintages that are more desirable than others. It’s not uncommon to find a section of the stuff sticking out of a tree that has grown up on a fence row and absorbed the wire as the tree grew. There was also a lot of barbed wire on the ground. Sometimes it’s covered with decades of fallen leaves all except for the loop that’s just below the weeds and waiting to catch your foot like a snare. Believe me, it will drop you like a rock if you’re careless around old fences that are poorly maintained.

Sometimes in life we get tossed down when we’re least expecting it. If we look around to see what tripped us up we’ll usually find that it was a responsibility that we ourselves neglected. What’s more is that it’s easier to handle taking care responsibly when it’s fresh than it is to fix something that has been left undone for too long.