During our second May, we had our entire half-acre property fenced, a simple wire-mesh “field fence” with handsome wooden posts. There was a swinging double gate for our driveway and a smaller gate at the rear of our property for easy access to the cotton field and equally easy creation of an irrigation trench between the field and our property.
The fence was mainly constructed for Buddy’s freedom and safety. Yet I, who had never lived in a fenced-in property, found myself unexpectedly enjoying it for additional reasons. The fence not only leant our property a sense of security, but also a very pleasant sense of sovereignty, a feeling that our little plot was ours and ours alone. I now had a palpable sense of why private property is one of America’s most cherished freedoms. Meanwhile, the fence seemed to add a third dimension to our property. No longer had our little acreage length and width, it now had height, and, thus, volume. Sometimes the volume was only four feet deep―the height of the fence. Other times, however, the volume seemed to reach clear to the sky, possess the basement of Anthony’s sky itself.
Indeed, Arizona poet Richard Shelton and I might have been on the same wavelength on this subject. In his celebration of the humble hole, he writes: “But where is the surface of a hole? I once believed that the surface of a hole is level with the surface of the ground around it. From observation I have come to realize that this is not true. The earth has a surface, and the sea has a surface, but a hole has no surface. A hole has only sides and a bottom from which it extends infinitely upward, like a shaft of light; and as the earth revolves, it moves with great care and precision between the stars.”
Seated against a fence post, I’d watch a roadrunner scurry across our lawn and make a winged leap to a post of his choice. Meanwhile, I’d bob happily in my pool of property.