Have you heard the phrase “a fence is the best defense?” You might not, because I just made it up.

I feel that a fence is not as much for safety as for a feeling of security. The sign, “Beware of dog” is much more effective than a real dog. Once I saw a sign on a fence saying, “My dog knows how to kill.” The dog’s picture was also painted on the sign. The picture looked more like a donkey than a dog. I never saw a dog, or heard a bark from that house. Nevertheless I changed the route of my daily walk.

The signs on fences of huge houses in Beverly Hills are most deterring. They say something to the effect, “The intruder will be shot on sight.”

There are fences and then there are fences. Some fences are real fancy. They are low white fences with a white gate with rose bushes going along the path. These are mostly found on greeting cards. Some fences are offensive, especially if they are your neighbor’s and are crooked, broken or rusted. They seem to be insulting the neighborhood and prick your ego with their thorny look.

The most dangerous fences are those with electrical current running through them. I am so scared of them that I don’t even want to write about them.

There are some fences that are disguised--- a moat is a disguised fence around a fort. Those fences have gone out of fashion now--- so have forts and castles.

“ Do you like fences?” Somebody asked me.“Depends,” I said on which side of the fence I happen to be. I like the fence if it’s around my house, but I don’t like the high fence around the “White House.”

Fencing is also a game of swords. French, English and Russians were very fond of the game in the last century. The game taught them how to fight a duel when their honor was at stake. Those duel days are gone now; I don’t know why! Honor is sometimes at stake in our times too.

Fences could be status symbols. They give statements of their own. Big fences say “rich houses.” White fences around big grounds indicate “horses.”

The trends in housing change as much as any other. I’m not sure whether fences are out or in. My suggestion is that it is fine to have fence around your house but you should not have one around your mind because it limits your vision.

    Copyright © 2004 Razia Fasih Ahmad