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it already is.

Excerpt from
The Snow Fence (Renewed Edition)
Chapter Four: Control

     “Dad?” Seth inquires quietly.

     “Yes, Son?”

     “We have 20 acres behind the house. Why don’t we have a fence?”

     “Nobody has fences around here, son. With the woods and creek and all, it might as well be wild. The fence thing was an analogy, Seth. I didn’t mean—”

     Because of Dad’s way of saying it, Seth and Natalie have always argued whether the glistening string of water running through the land is a “crEEk” or a “crick.” Seth smiles a little, knowing Natalie would likely say, “Seth, there are two ‘e’’s. How does that spell ‘crick’?”

     But instead of mentioning it, Seth carries on with his mission. “I saw a fence in one of Mom’s paintings with carved posts and pickets on barbed wire. A snow fence. They are usually just in short sections, but can I build a snow fence all the way around?”

     “This is your land too, Son. You needn’t ask. Just be careful. Barbed wire can bite.”

. . .

     Distant thunder in midafternoon finds Natalie strolling across the front yard to the edge of the property that meets the road on the opposite side of the house as the guest house. She is as confused as I, due to a new behavior of Seth’s. For weeks after Natalie has left for something called a “curfew,” Seth ventures to his woodshop, making what looks like big thick table legs. He is crafting them beautifully and uniquely with his many saws and tools. Today, two weeks after his parents have left, he has constructed five of these. He has also ordered bundles and bundles of barbed wire and cut out simple wooden planks.

     Today, he stands staring at all the supplies, very still, barely blinking or breathing, even after Natalie arrives on the scene. But she knows better than to interrupt his thoughts with even valid questions. Suddenly, he departs, seeking some mumbled tool from the shed this side of the house. He returns with something that digs round holes in the earth, and he places one of those posts in a deep hole, surrounding it with some gray slush. He takes some tools and drills a hole in the post, then carefully slides barbed wire through and twists the end to secure it. Then, he digs another hole three feet from the first, setting another post, and cuts the barbed wire to attach the two. He connects them again with another length of barbed wire near the bottom of the post. This is when Natalie’s scrunched eyebrows change into a smile.

     Seth continues by using massive staples to connect wooden planks to barbed wire.

     “A fence,” Natalie says with a nod. “What are you fencing in? The part of the yard you mow? For Willow?”

     “The land,” Seth answers, finishing the section and moving his operation to the other side of the house.

     “All of it? You have 20 acres. Most of it is hilly or through the woods.”

     “I know,” he says. Then they arrive where Seth sets a post on the other side, marking the endpoint of the fence.

     “But…seriously? Seth, you carved those posts yourself. They’re gorgeous, but it would take you half a lifetime to build a fence this size with pretty posts like that.”

     Seth tilts his head. “Twelve years if I do two sections a week.”

     “Your parents are millionaires. You could probably hire someone to build a much simpler fence in a lot less time if you really—”

     “Fences keep bad things out and good things in. I want to build a fence.” Seth finishes his section and packs up his tools, moving them back to the shed.

     Natalie follows. “Will you need help?”


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