Stage of Grief #11; Building a Fence


And to set the pattern- there are three narrow slats, then one wide slat.
It is a rhythm
“It looks oriental” says my neighbor, John
And the word sounds strange.
And the dog seems to know that this is to keep her in…
But she is resigned to lay in the shade.
As lunch approaches, the sun is a bit to intense.
And I decide to take a long lunch and write
I have been building this fence now for a couple of weeks
Buying wood, hauling concrete
Digging holes and setting posts
Making gates- Tori gates… decorative and beautiful
Painting… water seal
Setting the mid rail and the bottom rail…
It is what I am doing…
To grieve.
But it is not a sad fence.

Painting the wood leaves a t-shirt stained
And brown spots spatter my shoes and shorts

And then setting the pattern…
From the wide board in the center… out.
And between cutting boards and setting them with the brad gun
Between loading the brads and finding my pencils…
And once in a while, the dog, she barks toward me

And behind me are these piles of scrap… unused bits…
The saw has its sound… and the brad gun has its pop
And I walk up and down, back and forth… moving and building
It is activity.
It is distraction.
It is healing.

And a fence comes together.

So I think of Ethan… not just often… but constantly.
Like the heat and the shade
And the sound of tools
Or the dog lying in the shade
And I feel… bits of sadness
That lost and lonely sadness

And I think about words and colors
And the rhythm of the boards… it is four four…
And finding my lost pencil…

And how this is all a metaphor for grief… building a fence
A thing of function and of beauty
That takes some time and precision
And you work with what you have…
The rocks in Arrowbear
Big hard granite
And big crumbly granite
And smaller rocks…
It means you could never get the posts quite straight.
And that digging will be hard

We rented a big iron bar… heavy and over seven feet long…
To beat holes into the rock to set the posts in.

And the wood is not perfectly straight
The ground is much more steeply angled then I thought

And before I use the wood, I have to paint it… and let it dry.
But little by little it comes together
One board at a time.

And one more. And it is not a sad fence, but a metaphor…


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