Gray rock fences built of ancient limestone are hallmarks of Kentucky’s Bluegrass landscape. As iconic as the white board fences and beautiful thoroughbred horses are, these amazing stone fences reflect the very character of Kentucky. The earliest settlers in Kentucky built dry-laid fences around eighteenth-century farmsteads, cemeteries, and mills. Fence-building increased dramatically during the nineteenth century so that by the 1880s stone fences lined most roads, bounding pastures and farmyards throughout the Bluegrass. It is likely that the Bluegrass may have the most extensive collection of rock fences in North America.
What made stone such a widespread choice for fences in the Bluegrass? The stones were abundant. Masons need a minimum of tools to erect structures that are remarkably durable, yet are easily repaired if damaged. They resist fire, water, and insects. If correctly designed, they are earthquake resistant. The work does not deplete natural resources, and they aesthetically complement and enhance the landscape.
Stone fences have a multitude of good uses:
- Establishing Boundaries: Fences can mark boundaries and property lines.
- Keeping Harmful Things Out: Fences can keep unwanted livestock and other animals out.
- Protecting Assets: Fences can help keep valued livestock and other animals within their proper domain.
Considering the stone fences of the Bluegrass, a spiritual parallel can be seen. The Lord himself referenced good fences: “Then He (Jesus) began to speak to them in figurative language. “There was once a man,” He said, “who planted a vineyard, fenced it, dug a pit for the wine-tank, and built a strong lodge” (Mark 12:1). Spiritual fences are for our benefit. Believers are a planting of the Lord. It is His plan that we prosper and produce fruit.
For the same reasons noted above with stone fences, God has reasons for surrounding us with a spiritual fence:
- Establishing Boundaries: If we are to prosper, we must know where the boundaries lie. Establishing proper limits is one of the major challenges of our day. The Holy Spirit can guide us in this crucial task. We must set spiritual boundaries and honor them. “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
- Keeping Harmful Things Out: So many things around us try to crowd in and occupy space and time that belongs to the Lord. Trespassers in the form of unwanted ideas, outside influences, unhealthy relationships, even religious activities can consume valuable resources and time.
- Protecting Assets: Proper spiritual fencing can also help us retain priceless assets. In the hectic pace of life, important spiritual truths tend to slip away. Surrounded by His love and protection, we can hold on to truth and grow and prosper.
‘Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone’ (Psalm 33:22).
~ Brother Roy