Fence posts and barbwire tamed the West, so they say. Defined the line between mine and yours. Designed to keep these in and those out (whatever they were). Left no doubt as to who owned what.
In his poem Mending Wall Robert Frost writes about the journey he makes each spring with his neighbour to repair the stone wall that separates their two properties. His neighbour claims: “Good fences make good neighbours.”
At one time rivers, mountains, oceans, cliffs, deserts — even gravity — kept tabs on who went where.
In our ongoing quest for safety, we continue to build walls and fences and where those physical barricades are not enough we build divisiveness with culture, skin colour, language, country of origin, religion, clothing, age, gender, species, ignorance, weapons, jealousy, anger, fear — anything to keep us and them apart.
As for Robert Frost?
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.