Fences Don’t Make Better Neighbours

The first house Chelsea and I bought was a townhouse with a fenced-in backyard.

I never really saw my neighbour until one day he handed me an envelope with the words “please sign” on it. That’s not suspicious at all. It was a contract that would give him permission to block the flow of water from the bottom of my fence. That way when it rained, his yard wouldn’t flood but mine would.

The second house we owned was in a beautiful neighbourhood but again never really got to see my neighbors. I decided to hire someone to build a tool shed. Just when the shed was finally finished, without ever letting me know the bi-law arrived and asked that I remove the shed because my neighbour thought it didn’t look good from his yard. A call would have been nice.

The street I live on now, everyone waves at each other when they drive by. We don’t have fences and I’ve never felt such a sense of community living where I am.

The world needs less fences. Less judgment. Less focus on our differences and more focus on our similarities. Building walls can seem to create the greatest fortress but it can also become the greatest prison. Fences don’t make for better neighbours – openness and communication does.

Also published on Medium.

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