Painting Your Fence

IMG_120227366997517It was October

days of warm sun

nights of crystal clarity.

As you had learned,

year after year, before…

it was time to prepare

for winter’s stormy nights.

Before we met

you knew the fence

was dry and in need of

cleaning and staining.

A few repairs,

a nail or two,

here and there.

The fence encircled your house,

embraced your garden,

provided sanctuary for

cats and dog,

and had held

the girls close through

years now passed.

Ir promised safety and privacy, too,

for little dippers, baby swmmers

in the living, teaching waters

of your backyard pool.

Moms and Dads, Grandfolks,

brothers, sisters of pupils

would sit in the shae and

lean against the warmth of

that cedar fence.

Backyard fence, patio fence,

swimming pool fence, garden fence…

Gates to the future, gates of home,

gates to summer barbeques,

birthday and pool parties,

all within;

encircling and holding the

celebrations of life.

Standing guard over the

events of our lives.

Weathered, faded, exposed to the sun,

you knew it needed care before the

onsloughts of autumn and winter weather.

You didn’t ask, nor expect

help in the task you planned.

You knew enough brush strokes

applied, over and over again;

perhaps, taking days, would

penetrate the wood with new

life and strength.

“Let me help you”, I said.

“It’ll be fun, like Tom Sawyer

and Huck Finn.  We’ll become friends.

Working together, we’ll talk

of our lives.  Get to know

one another.  Who knows

where it’ll end?”

So we cleaned and we brushed,

washed away dust and old paint,

as we talked and laughed and

shared from our hearts.

You told me of playhouses, swings,

sandboxes and toys

that had all been within

the holds of that fence.

Around your garden we moved

and took greatest care to

protect all you had planted

and nurtured that year…

We moved together form place

to place, with buckets and rollers,

brushes and hammer.

We explored past years

of growth and some sorrow,

in our separate lives that

came together…

within the fence that held

and the gates that opened

to our life that began, together.

Made clean, repaired, mended

and painted…

Once we were finished,

our mutural journey began…

as we walked through the gate.

Pleasant Hill, California:  October 1995

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