Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Old Barns and New Snow

How moving and sad too, to stop by the side of a country road in early winter and look across fields of new snow, woodlots, split rail fences and bales of hay at abandoned farms, log cabins and old log barns. On a cold morning, one can hear the wind whistling through the gaps in the walls, and it has a hollow lonesome sound, even from quite a distance.

Snug in our warm and comfortable twenty-first century homes, it is easy to forget such things, but well over a century ago, a family homesteaded here. They cleared the land of trees and rocks by hand, erecting a home for themselves, barns and other outbuildings for their livestock, fences to define their fields and keep their creatures safe. They made it through the deep cold winters year after year, carving out a life for themselves in the wilds and laying the foundations for the modern life we enjoy here today.

Now the fruits of their back breaking pioneer labors lie abandoned, forgotten and sleeping in an early winter sun. Every year, I find myself wondering if these magnificent old barns will persevere and hang on for another year. There is a story here, and I should be telling it.

3 comments:

liliannattel said...

That is sad.

One Woman's Journey said...

Cate, I share your thoughts. Now that I live back in the country I drive the winding road to town several times a week. I pass old barns and it is sad.

Heather said...

This reminds me of an old barn that used to stand alongside the road that led from my old house to the town. For the first eighteen years of my life, I saw this old barn at least twice a day, most days of the week. I often wondered who had built it, but I never knew anything about it. We thought every winter might be its last, as its sides bulged out and it leaned to one side. Finally, a couple of winters ago, the old barn finally collapsed. I still wonder about its history, which now I will probably never know.