I find myself inexplicably drawn to, and have a passion for, old barns. My fascination lies primarily with the old rust colored wooden ones that once wore a fresh red coat. I come upon these old symbols of farms that once thrived scattered throughout rural areas of the county. They may be found atop hills overlooking the valleys below or you might see them nestled next to a patch of woods. Some old barns may be found near the banks of small country streams.
I find myself particularly fond of the barns that stand in open fields of grass as if they were testaments to a time long since gone. They overlook the open grounds they were once the centerpiece for. Some missing boards, a broken door and holes in the roof only adds character to these wooden relics.
I often wonder why these barns still stand when nothing else near them has stood the test of time. Although weathered they seem to have more endurance that the farm houses and other buildings that once were part of the farm. Maybe they realize they are the true symbol of the farm and refuse to easily fall.
The barns hold on as though they realize they represent the last piece of a scene reminiscent of a drawing found on a Currier and Ives Lithograph. The pastoral theme remains but gone are the structures once called home by the families that lived there.
These old uncared for centerpieces of the farms have been the silent witnesses to so much of life. They were present for the births of babies, the raising of children, the caring for the elderly and the deaths of the old. Whether animate or inanimate everything fell under the stoic scrutiny of the barn.
One barn, more so than others, became my favorite. It rested all alone in a low lying grassy meadow. There were missing boards and the doors had long ago fallen off the rusted hinges. The barn faced north and I imagined the cold winter winds blowing through the open spaces in the barn’s shell.
Very early one morning I made a special visit to the low lying meadow. The storms the night before had leveled the old barn. Only one wooden pole remained upright. Everything else that once was the barn lay in a pile of weathered and faded wood. The loss of the barn caused the meadow to seem empty now.
The barn was built with a purpose in mind. For years it did its job and was an integral part of the farm and the family that lived there. When it was no longer needed it stood quietly and added beauty to the quiet meadow it called home. Like all things in life, the passing of time and unavoidable changes the years mandated left the meadow without an old barn to give it a story and add to its beauty. The meadow would never be the same without the old barn.