Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016 - The Old Countryside


Some people get angry when they see old, decrepit barns dotting the countryside.  “They should clear that up!  That’s an eyesore!  That’s dangerous!”  But me, I just love them.  Every time I see an old barn long past its glory days, I see a story well told.  I see generations of people living and working, hoping and growing, loving and dying.  I see comfortable animals and shelter from the rain and the sweet smell of prosperity.

A thousand stories to tell.

But every so often, a farmer will oblige the once-borns and tear down an old barn.  It will come down quickly, and he’ll haul away all the debris.  Very soon, the meadow will grow over any footprint left, and there will be no evidence that a barn was ever there.  Someone driving by for the first time would smile and see just a peaceful meadow.  But me, I see a gaping hole in the universe.  Every time I drive by, my mind’s eye looks for the barn, looks for the landmark that should be there to let me know where I am in my journey.  When I don’t find it, I feel completely out of sorts.

It doesn’t go away, either.  The blow becomes less severe, but there are still places I drive by 20 or 30 years later, and I still think of the barn that used to be there.  In my mind’s eye, I still see it sitting there on the horizon, peaceful and content.  There’s an empty place in the meadow where the barn disappeared.  Like a black hole, the matter was completely sucked in and dematerialized forever, brought back to antimatter.

But not in my mind.  I know where all the old barns still are.  I know where the old fences still are.  I know where the cattle used to roam.  They still do, somewhere in my mind.  I still see the countryside as it always was, dotted with the ancient barns.  Does that mean I’m getting old?  If so, bring it on.

As if I had a choice in the matter.

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