Up Hill and Down

(Ron Wilson) Another landmark of the Flint Hills are the deep ravines, the deep draws, and the stone, which might look simple to a bureaucrat sitting at a desk, but when it comes time to build fences, you need to call on somebody special. This poem is titled, Up Hill and Down, A tribute to the Fencing Man. The government man sits at a desk and draws a simple line and says, “Here, where the property ends, a fence here would be fine.” But what seems so simple in the government domain doesn’t match the real world of the natural terrain. For when we need a fence built across this rugged land, we need a hard working expert. We need the Fencing Man. Yes; the Fencing Man is he who suffers the consequence when the Flint Hills are the place that’s required to build a fence. By contrast, in the flat-lands, building a fence can be a breeze, but out here in the Flint Hills, we can’t build a fence with ease. When that line cuts across the steepest of these hills, it creates a major challenge, which the Fencing Man fulfills. It’s one thing to build a fence where the land is flat and level, but it’s different on these hillsides with a 60-degree bevel. It’s a place where a pickup truck or four-wheeler can’t squeeze, so he drags a chainsaw out by hand to cut the brush and trees. Seems it’s the most inaccessible place we need the fences most, so he’s hiking up a side hill with a driver and T-post. Then, he’s sliding down the draw where the sides are very steep, and the ground is too darn rocky to drive the posts in very deep. So, while the government man draws a line across the aerial maps, the Fencing Man is on the ground with barbed wire and water gaps. It looks easy sitting in a room and drawing up a man-made plan but it ain’t easy in the Flint Hills, so we salute the Fencing Man. Happy Trails.