Newfoundland Fences

The beauty of Fences here in Bonavista Newfoundland only came to my attention on a rainy day while walking our 3 dogs.  I suddenly saw these historic fences in a completely different way because they were wet giving them all a deep brown color against the snow allowing me to see them as they really are versus the pale silvery color that makes them mostly invisible and unseen. To see them for the first time as a whole entity gave the fences a dance rhythm almost human in its formation alive in its own harmony.

Riggle/Wriggle Fence

There are five historic types of fences. There is the Paling Fence used in the front yard as decoration and to show property lines. The Longer (Lunger) Fence which keeps farm animals out of gardens but does little to prevent smaller animals from getting in. The Picket Fence is another type of Paling Fence that keeps small and large animals away. However, the most mesmerizing of them all is called the Riggle/Wriggle Fence that is very rarely seen now. It’s beginnings lay in Medieval England and is a combination of a longer fence and a picket fence. This fence kept out or kept in what was most valuable to the owners. The fence is made without the need for nails and is more like a piece of artwork that seems to draw your eyes to its beautiful complexity.

The age long question that Robert Frost tackled in his poem called Mending Fences – do we really need barriers? His neighbor in the poem recites his father’s long held belief that “Good fences makes good neighbors” but in response Robert Frost belittles this and believes that if we were suppose to have these fences in whatever form why do they continue to fall down?

What do you think?

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