I often stop and stare at old buildings, cars and places and just get lost in the moment. I've never understood why they fascinated me but I could stand and look at them for hours. I'm not into the architecture as I couldn't tell you a mid century Italian from a Spanish Colonial or if those are actual real things. To be honest, I never questioned why as it really didn't matter to me. I just enjoyed seeing them. Today I had the opportunity to reflect even more on my world and the world in general. The odd thing was that I started thinking about old buildings, more specifically, an old barn I see from time to time. This first thought took me down the rabbit trail that led me to here. Funny how life likes to send that spark into our world from time to time. As I let my thinking continue down the rabbit trail I wondered what is it that I am seeing or trying to see in these moments. Then it dawned on me and I knew I was going to write something about it. Before I write about it I should start with a picture of the barn that started me down this rabbit trail.
When I pulled up this picture the memory of the first time I saw it flooded back to me. I instantly knew exactly why I slipped down this rabbit hole i'm in. I've been watching this barn collapse since 2015 when I first noticed it driving the back roads home. The first time I saw it I pulled over and stood on the side of the road trying to capture a good picture of it. At that time it was still fully standing with all it's sides still up and with the exception of a pretty nice size hole in the roof it looked pretty good. I remember sending my wife the picture I just took and she knew exactly where I was and how long the barn had been "falling" down. I recall my thoughts as I drove home that day. I recall them vividly because I had the same thought today which is the point of this blog.
The thought that day and today was, "at one time this was new" that's it. Well, there is more to it now than that initial thought. You see, I don't just see an old building what I see is the new one. The family (or company/employees) who are standing proudly in front of their new barn (or thing) knowing that it will serve their family (or business) for a long time. I think about the kids who would play in that barn. I think about the laughter and even the tears that were shed in that barn. I think about the pain that was endured in the barn. I think about how it slowly went from new and being everything to being too much to deal with any longer. As time goes on it sits there and no one dares to go into it because it is too dangerous to be around. I think about how long it will take for it to no longer be anything but a pile of wood in a field. I think of what it would be 20 years from now when there is no trace of it and someone, like myself, will say "there use to be a big old barn where those houses are now." And then I think back again to when it was new.
Then I think about the places that are "old hat" but still in use. Someone still needs it even though it is not it's best. Like the picture here where this old building is still used by the family. I remember searching for red barns during our snowy days because they look amazing against the white snow. I remember seeing this one and thinking how most people would pass it up because its old and about to fall down it seems. Then I think about when it was new and the family (or owner) brought the first horse into the barn or the first livestock into it. What dream did they have as they stood proudly in that moment of newness? How long did it take to focus on something else? That's the thing with these old buildings, we see them as broken down but we don't see the life that it once had before it lost its usefulness. What a rabbit hole this one has taken me. I continue on with my thoughts and then I think of this truck.
On the same road (or the next on over) as the first barn in a big field sits this truck. Anyone can tell it's a classic of some sort. I imagined that it set beautifully on a lot somewhere with teenage boys and girls dreaming of driving one like it. Then there are the modern day restorers who take a classic like this and clean it up to drive around like the old days. You know making men and women like myself dream of driving something like that one day. It was, after all, once new!
I think about all this and it relates to how we, as people, treat our lives on almost every level. How we celebrate what is new and fresh with anyone and everyone that will listen. We show off that brand new car, house, ring, mate, new wall painting, rearranged house/office, new job and the likes with such a joy that it probably makes people sick of hearing about it. Everyone is happy for us, well some may be jealous or even angry, but most are probably happy. But what happens after time has passed? Just like the truck when it get its first dent that is too expensive to repair we just.... let it slide. Then another happens and another and before long you are looking for the "replacement" of that thing. And even though it still does it's job we start finding more faults in it, making reasons why it is no longer useful for what we want or need. Eventually, we do less and less to keep it working and it begins to fade.
Today I am thinking about all the "barns" in my life that I once was so proud of being new but have wasted away for whatever reason. I think about how many years have passed that there is no remains of what once was and, if I'm honest, that is a bit sad to look back and know it once stood prominently in my metaphorical field. It's also me being human. The crazier thing is we don't even recognize it until one day we look up and it's all changed because, simply put, we changed. Just like the barn, the car and everything else it changes day to day. It needs care or it will be forgotten to the point it isn't whisper anymore. Remembering that what is now was once
something completely different. Like this boat I saw on the side of the road. In this state its only use is to the animals around the property. The person who bought it has long left it to just exist. It wouldn't take long for nature to take it's course and completely "reclaim" that boat to the earth. Just like the boat, I am thinking about all things that once was new and is no longer the same. So what do I get out of all this thinking I've been doing today? Well, I guess I better tell you.
There are many new things we will see in life. There are paths we will take a thousand times and all of sudden never take it again. There are highs and lows in every facet of our existence that sometimes demand we take action or do nothing at all but ride it out. But while we do it we need to make sure that we cherish those gifts we get because one day we may very well be the "barn" in someone else's story. No one wants to be the fallen barn.
I'll end this with one more picture of a place I stop and look at often. This little shack brings one last question.
How will I feel when I am no longer of use or service to anyone? Remember, being useful, valuable and appreciated takes work. It also takes doing it for those things around you. Life is short, time zips by and nature is always working to take back control. Take care of the barns in your fields because one day you may look back and realize the field is bare. Just a thought friends. LETME!