Fences – Delights 16 & 17

16. My broken fence has long been an eyesore and a source of great consternation for me. The location of the fence and its broken post has made repairing it a precarious proposition. But today, my friend Mark and his son came with tools and a plan, and they executed it beautifully.

I was present for all of it but one hour when I had to retreat to my kitchen for a pre-scheduled Zoom meeting. But while I was away, I watched their progress through the window at the kitchen sink.

I returned as they were reattaching the existing fence panels to the newly poured fence posts. It was amazing to see my warped fence minus a few pickets stand at attention after so many years of leaning backward like a gymnast doing a back bend. As I watched them wield various power tools to make the magic happen, I was delighted to have a sense memory of all the times my dad welcomed me to his side as he repaired or built something. Those moments with him were a love language that communicated his trust in my ability to understand his instruction and carry it through. It built confidence in me and helped me think through problems with a different set of tools. It was also cherished quality time together and so much fun. Today felt a little bit like time travel.

When Mark’s son had to leave, I stepped into the apprentice spot, and we spent the rest of the day building the new gate that would connect the fence posts and allow me access to the strip of property I hadn’t been able to get to before. I was proud to be a competent helper knowing how to not be in the way or present a safety hazard to either of us as Mark used the circular saw.

As I watched Mark switch out drill bits and screws, I kept thinking, there’s no reason to be intimidated by your drill. You can do this! By the end of the afternoon, I was using the drill effectively. What a source of satisfaction and empowerment. I am so grateful that this long-needed job is complete. I feel the psychic burden lift from my shoulders and my mind. I am excited that we were able to do it early in the season, so I have time plan and consider what plants to add to this quadrant of the hillside.


17. Stiff and sore from yesterday’s exertions, I got behind the driver’s seat at 8:00 a.m. I was scheduled to speak at a rural congregation near Jefferson City—two hours away. I hit the road accompanied by my usual podcasts. About an hour into the trip, I made a pit stop and grabbed a hot tea and breakfast sandwich and headed south on Hwy 19.  I wondered what delight might find me on my drive.

I love a country drive. It reminds me of car rides with my grandpa. With miles stretching before me and blue skies above, I enjoyed the space to breathe and to think—back then with Grandpa and today. I also relished the change of scenery.

Over the past week, I’ve noticed daffodils shooting up through the still-cold ground around St. Louis, but what I saw on the drive was remarkable (and delightful): bunches of daffodils grew along fence lines parallel to the road. At first, I thought it was the whimsical notion of a gardener on that property, but the longer I drove the more I saw them. Yellow blossoms and green stems dotted the roadway for long stints. It really was a sight to see!

At lunch after the service, I asked my host—a wise, old local—about the daffodils. How did they get there? Are the property owners planting these bulbs? No, he answered. It’s the squirrels. They dig them up and rebury them.

I would never have guessed this answer, but I loved it! I have long written stories in my head about the societies of woodland creatures, and the idea of squirrels being responsible for so much beauty added to today’s delight.  


  1. Love the courage and curiosity in your writing. Thank you for sharing your perspectives and possible stories! peace be with you.

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