Our CEO is an incredibly intelligent and creative person. It seems like every time I talk to him he reveals a few layers of his life and his many accomplishments. He is wicked wise and has such a driven mentality that I truly believe his abilities are limitless. He also likes Robert Frost’s work. Every now and then he’ll have me read up on a poem and come back to discuss it with him. “Mending Wall” came up one day when we were talking about diversity and segregation. He told me the story of a college football team in Atlanta that desegregated itself after realizing that they loved winning more than they hated African-Americans, and the best chance they had at winning was to accept African-American athletes. Then he quoted: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun…” For our next discussion he asked me to figure out what that “something” was and explain my reasoning. So I came back with two and a half theories and a question. (I’ve linked the poem to my post for the reader’s reference.)
I formed my first theory within the first few lines. As the writer starts off describing that “something,” it seemed to me that it was simply the force of nature which can’t be prevented from running its course, freezing and thawing at the right time. Then the writer goes on to talk about the hunters, which was my second theory. It reminded me of the football team in Atlanta. They decided that they needed to break down a social wall in order to accomplish a goal. The last theory I started to form was about the elves the writer mentions, but I didn’t understand how that applied to the conversation we’d had about diversity and segregation. He explained to me that walls go down easier when there are good allies in high places, similar to a lot of people he knows at U of M when it comes to diversity.