An ode to delineated space - Ed Brock

There's something deeply satisfying about building a fence.

For the past two years in which my wife and I have lived in this suburban mini-castle there has been a horrible openness to our backyard. What was ours ran seamlessly together with what was our neighbors,' and that's just un-American.

All around Clayton and Henry counties cookie-cutter neighborhoods have proliferated, carving up the landscape and cramming homes nearly on top of each other like the game board of juvenile "Monopoly" players. You know how you lose all the hotels so you just have to put a bunch of those little green houses all over Park Place or Baltic Avenue. Anyway, that's what we did.

Moving on, landscaping is almost non-existent in these mass communities, perhaps a fitting trend in these days of "cocooning" in front of the big screen TV and never venturing outside. If you want more, you have to do it yourself.

Actually, in our case, we got Lowes to do it. They took care of the sweaty grunt work, or more precisely Lowes' contractor, "Help @ Home Installation Services." Carl, a good-natured fellow I know was in the military and who was horribly disappointed by Georgia Tech's alleged championship game in Texas, slapped that sucker together in record time and virtually alone. On the last day some young guy came along to help Carl, but by then all the hard work was done. When the project was completed Carl was so pleased with his handiwork that he actually took pictures.

Lucky me. Further photographic evidence of my existence, smiling blandly by the gate of my enclosure, my "delineated space."

Carl got quite a chuckle out of that term.

But finally now I can stand on the cracked, pathetic concrete slab that passes as my back deck and look out over my domain, a defined area with tangible borders, my little corner of the world.

Well, mine and my wife's, of course.

As a privacy fence it doesn't quite work. My neighbor can stand on the glimmering elevated deck he built himself and look right over into my yard, and the house on the other side is also elevated, or more accurately the fence on that side is basically in a valley. But hey, we're already looking for some fast-growing shrubbery to form a hedge that will fix that problem.

There's still a strong sense of community left despite the fence. The wooden planks don't keep out the laughter of the neighborhood children, though I have to say I'm glad that it will keep those little ragamuffins from walking across my yard as they have been prone to do since I moved there.

But the line has been drawn. The outside world can crash against my stalwart bailiwick and it will be rebuffed, the fief of Brock defended against all assaults.

Assuming I judged the property lines correctly.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com.