Frost’s narrator both rues the need for the wall but also respects the validity of his neighbor’s old-fashioned adage. Although there is no pressing need for the wall, it is the basis of his relationship with the neighbor. They meet annually to repair toppled stones and might otherwise never interact if not for the wall mending appointment.
The key to maintaining good terms as neighbors is the maintenance of a clear boundary. It both maintains their civility and defines their individual properties, and by extension, their rights. Without the wall, even Frost’s narrator understands, something would be lost between him and his neighbor.
In the unfolding story surrounding the disagreement brewing between the Petes and their Ardleigh Street neighbors behind the Market at the Fareway’s soon-to-open beer garden, there is a need to maintain a wall that is broken.
It goes without saying that both the neighbors and the Petes should respect the rights of each other. The neighbors deserve the right to live in their homes without constant intrusions and the Petes have the right to improve and develop their business within the law.
The neighbors are entitled to be concerned. The addition of the beer garden raises questions that are fair to ask about use and hours and noise. It’s also worth considering the added strain on the neighborhood by expanded use of the Water Tower rec center that has contributed to the volume of cars and noise in the area.
But it is also important to remember that the Petes have demonstrated over the course of the nearly 10 years they’ve owned the property that they are good neighbors with the best intentions for the property they own. They are not absentee landlords with no ties to their community. In fact, the opposite is true. They live here and do business here. Their efforts have nearly doubled the market value of the property (a likely boon to other property values in the neighborhood). Ron Pete can almost always be found on the premises making sure all is well.
It’s not fair to assume that the family has been negligent, disregarded the law or cut corners. And this is the most important thing. So many disagreements between neighbors are quick to stray from issues at hand and become personal feuds. It’s much easier to mend a wall than it is to restore trust.
Neighbors and Pete should work to resolve the issue to everyone’s satisfaction. It’s in everyone’s best interest to move forward in a way that makes everyone happy. And that would best be accomplished with face-to-face meetings and not promises to engage attorneys.
There is something that doesn’t love a wall. It was true on Frost’s farm in 1914 and it’s true in Chestnut Hill more than 100 years later. And it’s ever more important to make sure those walls are mended and that neighbors find a way to stay neighbors.