Thursday, November 1, 2012

crooked fences

We don't have a fence, crooked or straight. Between our front door and the street lies a garden built with love and care by our home's former owners. It is the garden that I have always wanted but could never have created myself, not being in possession of thumbs that could in anyway be described as green.

Even though I love this garden, I can't take my eyes off the fences. White pickets, stone walls, hedges, all drawing a firm physical line between home and the wider world. Most serve no practical purpose, and even the crooked fences are artfully designed, suggesting whimsy rather than decay.

Across the freeway, the fences are of an entirely different order. Built to keep the world out, there is no room for whimsy here. Along the main road, the fences are industrial grade. Even the dogs are of a different order, pitbulls more common than poodles and their designer offspring.

Each weekday, yellow school buses transport children between these two worlds. Of course, the flow is all one way. We do not see value in asking our own bubble wrapped children, let alone ourselves, to integrate into communities outside our comfort zone.

Our fences are artfully designed, as are the lies we tell ourselves. Letting a few children slip through the court mandated gaps in the fence between our world and theirs is better than nothing. But actually taking down the fences, funding schools equitably, would mean that getting a good education was no longer dependent on the good fortune of being born into a community protected by the impermeable fences of privilege, or the far less certain "luck" of winning a ticket on a yellow school bus to the other side of the freeway.


  1. And we are not far behind, on the other side of the world xx