4/13/11 Wednesday. (Yesterday’s free-write)
The neighbor’s dogs are up to their vocal acrobatics this afternoon: A constant ushering out of canine sound. I sit in my dining room looking out the large wall of a window. From this vantage point, I can see the two culprits, their heads arched over the wavering chicken wire fence that separates our world from the one next door. From what I can tell, their favorite outdoor activity is barking. From the time the back door squeaks ajar to the time they are corralled and shut back in, they bark.
Last summer, the neighbors put up a new fence. We watched it go up, in secret anticipation of a quieter living experience. The dogs can be heard from inside and out. They begin the barking early in the morning (say, 6:00ish) and we hear their last barking session around midnight or 1 am. So they wake us up. Who needs alarm clocks? Sleeping pills, perhaps, but not alarm clocks. Going into the backyard has become an activity we tend to avoid. The dogs are outside for most of the day. When we try to relax and enjoy the sun and the gently swaying pine trees that tower over us, the dogs are there. Not only are they there, but they are there on a mission. The mission seems to be to tell us who claims the airwaves. They rush out at the fence. One time, one dog made it over and rushed at Mark. These are not small dogs. They are long, lean, and aerodynamic. One chocolate coated and one white with black spots: Both unhappy with our presence in our own backyard. The entire time we are out there, they angle themselves at the fence, barking and bouncing their way to a yard free of humans. They seem to be especially partial to the side of their yard that borders ours, lucky for us.
So when the fence started going up, you can imagine our delight. We watched each day as the walls were erected. Never did we imagine ourselves to be such fans of fences. In this case, yes! Listen to barking long enough and you will build the fence yourself.
The work was going swimmingly until the work stopped. Three sides went up quickly and efficiently, the rickety two foot tall chicken wire replaced with a massive, six feet tall sound barrier of a fence. We waited for our turn. We kept waiting. And waiting. The materials sat lonely leaning against the stairs to their porch. Untouched, forgotten. We kept watching, still hopeful. Spring is here now and there are no signs of finishing the job. The hard truth has set in. They left the last side, our side, for the dogs. Now they pace restlessly and single-mindedly along this last remaining strip of chicken wire. Now the dogs can focus ALL their angry barking energy on us. Hooray!
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