Monday, November 24, 2014

Barns Revisited

I haven't put up a new post for some time, mostly because I just haven't felt like I have anything more to say.  This picture that I took a week ago has made me want to at least try.
It's just an old abandoned barn, slowly crumbling away, but looking at it makes me think about life, and long ago; fond memories and melancholy recollections too.  I wrote about "The Old Barn" in one of my early posts, how it was the playground of our childhood.  That barn is long gone now, like most others of its kind.  The old has been torn down to make room for the new or just allowed to decay because it isn't needed anymore.  The value of these old buildings that can be measured in dollars and cents has dwindled to nothing, and sentimental value doesn't pay the bills on a working farm.  I can't fault the owners for getting rid of a tax liability and returning the land to productive use;  I am just saddened a little that the way of life that flourished around these structures is gone and that the memories of it are fading too.

Old things are preserved in museums so that we can catch a glimpse of the past.  Limited space and limited resources dictate what can be preserved.  There are a few "historic" farms that survive by selling tickets for that glimpse.  I'm not sure it works to visit these places unless they were once a part of your life.  That old barn is just a pile of boards unless it contains memories.

It was on my seventieth birthday that I took this picture and I suppose that that milestone has something to do with the mood of it.  The longer ago "long ago" becomes, the more precious (and more romanticized) the memories become.  "Three score and ten" was long considered a man's allotted time.  I feel grateful to have been given my full allotment and have a reasonable expectation that I have a decade or two left.  I do not intend to spend all of that time reminiscing about what has been;  I look forward to adding to my store of memories and to sharing some of them.  But, the memories are a warm place to visit and sometimes long ago doesn't seem very far away at all.