Fence | Searsport, ME | 2014

We hiked a trail that ran alongside the seashore through thick woods. About two miles from the parking lot, we came upon a freestanding section of picket fence. Nearly new and about 15 feet long, it stood by itself exactly parallel to the trail. It kept nothing in, nothing out. Curious hikers had tread a dirt path around it. A small sign, expertly painted, instructed: “Mind the fence.” But how? Yes, the fence was a type of barrier, much condensed. But its open ends urged exploration, even condoned “trespassing” to the other side. Its truncated length — not more than 50 pickets — was itself an invitation to breach. In the end, we figured, the fence loomed as a simple but puzzling piece of art that encouraged us to examine our principles. At what point would we ignore boundaries?