JB had urged me to get some photographs of the wooden silo on Henry Road in northern Jackson County so Julie and I put it on our agenda for last week. It felt like an exciting find for us, but I also felt grief. Michigan has so many wooden barns, but the winters are harsh and the owners we have talked to say they are very expensive to maintain so they are having to let them deteriorate. Some are covering them with metal or vinyl.
I have photographed lots of silos but this one captured my heart as no other. What makes it so special is the workmanship. The people who built it had tremendous skill in working with wood, and put a tremendous amount of effort into it. I wish I knew in what year it was built.The person who built it took great care to make it solid and study. It must have been a younger man – but not too young. He would have had to be old enough to have developed the skill but young enough to believe it would serve his family forever. I hope this family prospered. I wonder if there are ancestors who remember, and grieve the loss of his work.
I’m a realist, and know that for everything there is a season. Life entails loss, lots of it, and we grieve. It is a part of our human condition to mourn those things that were but are now being lost. It seems that I notice those things that are being lost more so now that I am old. Maybe when we are young we are so focused on building and creating, so absorbed with thinking about our future, so sure it will go on forever, that we don’t notice what is being lost. It makes me wonder what part of our current culture will be mourned 70 years from now.
On our weekly photo outings, Julie and I have gotten ourselves into some places where we used caution to avoid shotguns and mad dogs. We are pulled to dirt roads and find out-of-the-way places where people live who don’t want strangers hanging around – so we don’t. But this is downright spooky. I didn’t notice this spirit when I shot the photo. Is this what they call lens distortion?
On our weekly photo safari last week we found a couple of barns that interested us. The lone milk can was what first attracted, but the beautiful architecture was what really stole my heart. And of course windows always seem to hold secrets (past and present) that I can’t explore.
Photography has required that I focus on what I find beautiful and interesting out of all there is to see in the world. I’m intrigued by why certain things appeal to me enough to want to capture them to share with others, to maybe tell you the story of who I am.
Friend Julie and I can make a stop because something catches our eye but when we are finished wandering around and snapping our shutters, we have very different images. She surprises me with her posts because I remember where her photographs were taken, but what she focused on and how she did the post-processing results in very different images than mine. That makes life fun!