Friday, October 07, 2005
It's Good To Feel The Sunshine
I love to photograph old barns! It must have something to do with growing up around the farm and learning to love the old buildings which were a wonder to explore. Each one was filled with secrets, and all of them were new to me. Some of them smelled really bad, and others smelled of the "life" that one encounters everywhere in an agriculturally based environment. The barn I chose to show with these notes is not one that I have photographed(I borrowed this from an unknown photo buff somewhere "out there" on the net months ago)but it is one with which I can strongly identify. During the "barnsiding" craze of a few decades ago many buildings with this general appearance were torn down and sold off to folks who wanted the rich, downhome look for their homes. Of course it was only utilized after being subjected to the most rigorous of procedures to remove any and all vestiges of scent that might linger and betray the wood's origin. The old milking barn was my favorite place to explore. By the time I arrived on the scene it was no longer used for it's intended purpose, it had become a "birthing barn" and a home to the many cats that seemed to proliferate around the place. It was the permanent shelter for the small herd of sheep we had, and a roosting place for many wayward chickens that had given up the comfort of the coop for a more "wild" way of life(we still found their eggs)but, most importantly, it was the place of choice for birthing. Calves, pups, chicks, lambs, kittens, and the occasional foal were all in the habit of bringing their young into the world beneath the sagging lofts amidst the stone walls that enclosed the lower portion of the barn. It was there that we watched in awe the miracle of new life happening before our eyes. Perhaps one of the first great lessons in life was taught by those moments when we would gather around and watch an animal give birth. None of them were ever thought of in any light that would not give voice to God's "gifts" to each of us. I know some of the kittens didn't just wander off, it took me until I was about 12 to figure that one out. By then they were of less concern, and I dutifully promised not to share that particular piece of knowledge with younger cousins because it would have devestated Sherry or Marie to think of our beloved "gramps" bagging them up on his way to the creek. It was a great life! Later on each one of us had to make decisions along those lines, but it was far more personal. For most of us(thankfully)that was before the age of debate over the "right to life" and "right to choose." Interestingly enough, most of the young women I know today, the ones in their late teens and early twenties are "pro life" women to the core. Maybe that's because their mothers were too! When it comes to the poitics of choice, I find it heartening that there are fewer and fewer voters out there voting against life. Maybe those other children were never raised to voice an opinion. Just thinking about that old barn tonight, and wondering if it is still standing. God bless, Preacher.