Bad Fences Make Good Neighbours

On a Friday in May in 2018, 100 km/hr winds hit southern Ontario and Quebec. Trees were toppled, shingles were flown, and power was cut.

During the windstorm, my neighbour climbed onto his roof and it was so windy, it blew his fascia off.

My fascia was okay, but my backyard fence was not as lucky. My old fence panels were down. My deteriorated fence posts were knocked out.

There’s an old saying that says good fences make good neighbours. But I think they’ve got it backwards. I say bad fences make good neighbours, and here’s why.

The collapse of my wobbly fence brought me closer to my neighbours. Gone were trees, shingles, fascia, and fences, but our shared sense of loss and our common desire to repair things created a stronger community. My neighbours helped me mend my broken fence, and I spent more time with my neighbours in one afternoon fixing my fence than I had in a long time. For one afternoon, I experienced something that is rare in our fast-paced, individualized, technological world—a sense of fellowship. It was an amazing feeling.

And it’s why I hope my old fence blows down again soon.

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