Cold winds, falling leaves, and the value of a good fence

The information website for Canadian immigration services crashed Tuesday night, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of inquiries received while the results of the American presidential election rolled in.

Facebook friends from the U.S. have asked if they can pitch a tent in my backyard. Some of them may not be kidding. I wonder what our neighbours would think.

We like our neighbours. They have their own way of doing things, and we do not share all their interests or preoccupations. We make friendly conversation, without being close friends. We care about each other, and lend a hand, or lawn furniture, as needed. (Even when they have a loud party!)

We don’t talk politics, and have never posted lawn signs at election time, but I suspect we would not support the same candidates or policies.

My neighbour and I just contracted to rebuild the fence between our properties. Neither of us really wanted to spend the money, but sometimes you have to fix what is broken. The posts were rotted and the fence was falling over. It did not feel right to just tear it out. It was there before either of us moved in. The guy we hired put on the finishing touches as the world was digesgood-fenceting the election news.

When I woke on Wednesday morning the sun was shining, but there was a fall chill in the air. We had a fresh dump of leaves on our lawn. The cold wind knocks them loose. We are blessed to have stately oak trees and noble red maples on our street. Our front yard is graced by a young white birch with brilliant yellow foliage. This time of year I could be raking every day.

Many leaves on my lawn come from other people’s trees. The wind takes them, and they land where they land. The new fence, even though it’s a little higher than the old one, won’t change that.

The election results are like a cold wind to many people, and things they don’t want are landing on them. That was going to be true for a lot of folks, no matter which way the electoral breezes blew.

My hope and prayer is that despite the November chill, my American neighbours will make the efforts needed to tear out what needs to be torn out, mend what needs to be mended, and work together to clean it all up.


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