We did not go down to Roundrock last weekend. We had obligations that kept us in town, including more of the ongoing repair work of the picket fence that surrounds our back yard and kept the kids in when they were little. It now keeps Queequeg in since he is naughty and won’t come when called.
Sometimes I think my fence is a lot like Theseus’ boat. Over the years as his boat aged, Theseus had repairs made to it. Eventually, every plank was replaced, and none of the original material remained. Was it still Theseus’ boat? It’s a classic conundrum in philosophical debate, but in the mean time, my fence is falling down and needs repair.
So Libby and I spent part of Sunday doing that. The fence has been surrounding our back yard for more than twenty years, and in that time, I’d say I’ve replaced three quarters of the pickets and a third of the cross braces. I’ve even replaced four of the posts and two gates.
When we learned that Queequeg was not going to be a good boy and come when called, we knew we had to step up the repair work on the fence since he could slip between some of the rotten pickets and through other breaches. We called back the company that had built the fence for us two decades before to see about repair. The man, the father of the young man who had built the fence for us originally, told us that he didn’t want to repair it but that he would happily replace it. For about half the cost of a new car. When I told him that wasn’t going to happen, he changed his policy about repair work and quoted a priced for the repairs he identified, which more or less came to replacing the fence anyway. That might have been the end of it, but the fellow had to insult me before he left.
We stained our fence dark green soon after it was built. Both of us have always hated the ugly gray that cedar turns to over the decades. It just looks uncared for, and the dark green fence tended to blend with the grass and shrubbery, arresting the eyes less. Through the years, it became the chore of the children as they grew to stain it every few summers. Well, the fence man said he had never seen a stained fence before. Certainly not one that was stained green. He thought we must be the only people in the whole city who would ever think to stain a fence dark green. He marveled at our oddness, and scratching his head, he drove away.
Soon after that, Libby and I made it our mission to keep our eyes open for stained fences throughout the city. We saw plenty. Most commonly, folks stained them white. We also saw a lot of redwood stain. And we saw dark green fences here and there.
When we were busy working on the fence, we came upon this late-emerging cicada. I consider it evidence that we really did give attention to the fence and weren’t goofing off as some have accused.
- The Missouri Natural Events Calendar is blank for today.