A neighbourhood shrine

Imagine cute kitten with caption 'hang in there'.
Imagine a cute kitten with the caption ‘hang in there’.

I walk by this house twice a day. I will hopefully try to layer the description to give some minimal sense of what is happening here.

The fence is rotted with many pickets missing. It cannot stand up on its own.
The fence is secured by what literally looks like a frayed shoestring that has been knotted a few times in the middle due to tears.
The shoestring is tied to a tree that is dead and cracked down the middle.

This would be sheer comedy or pure metaphor if not for the fact that it is actually someone’s fence. This is someone’s boundary marker. This is the extent of their strength in being able to secure a sense of stable self in relation to external forces.

I am often critical of ‘fences’ because of how much more easily and effectively the wealthy and powerful are able to manipulate them. But this is all the more reason to be attentive to what sort of boundaries the more vulnerable are able (or not) to maintain. And of course even here this is in the context of someone who is able to rent or own a home and so already the type of boundary is radically different from the material transience or instability that many others experience.

Walking past this place daily I find its affective presence just as striking. As I mentioned earlier this really is comic. This image presses to the extremes the definition of what a fence is. This is a boundary marker that cannot stand alone. This is a symbol of protection and safety secured by a shoestring. This is a house of cards.

In some ways it is surprising that no one (or perhaps this is where the knots came from) has simply grabbed the fence in passing and yanked on it to snap the string; to end the farce. I am guessing there is some sympathy for this fence. I wonder if people find themselves in this scene and give the fence its due respect.