My Dot on the Map: Low Barn

Eaton Rapids 001

This barn stands about a mile from my home and I have passed it hundreds of times, at different hours of the day and in different types of light. It intrigues me and begged to be photographed, but either light wasn’t right or traffic too heavy to pull over onto the narrow shoulder.

I was up early and on my way to fetch Julie for our weekly photo safari and there it was, in perfect morning light. It doesn’t take much to make me a happy woman, at that moment just a camera and some interesting light.

Travel Theme: Tilted

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is tilted. In my travels through the back roads of southern Michigan, I have seen lots of tilted barns and just posted on one of them here. I smile whenever I think of this window in the leaning barn in that post. It is almost like the window is trying to compensate for the sagging wall.

Homer 187

Here is another leaner.

Leaning Corn Crib of Jackson County

Leaning Corn Crib of Jackson County

You can lean on over to Ailsa’s blog to see more examples of off kilter and to share your interpretations.

Foggy Morning Barn

I decided to leave a little early yesterday morning to take some photos of a barn that has been calling to me for some time. It was another one of those foggy mornings and the sun was just beginning to burn its way through.

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The other end of the barn isn’t faring as well. I think they are salvaging some of it – I hope so.

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At first I thought it very sad, but then I remembered that I am donating my organs when I die. These barns have such beautiful lines and were built to last – but not forever. They are wood and are expensive to maintain once the farm is no longer active so there are a lot of decaying barns dotting the countryside, the wood rejoining the earth. Some people have the energy and vision to find uses for various elements and materials. A friend has been collecting the huge beams from barns that are being demolished to use in a cider mill he is breathing new life into.


Barns & Building Character

I first posted this barn as a part of the Lingering Look at Windows – they really stand out because they are new and bright and shiny.

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Here are photos of some of the architectural details that give this barn, and a couple of other out buildings, that character so many of you said you love.

Hidden Lake 013Hidden Lake 023

Chicken Coop?

Chicken Coop?

I hope I am aging with character instead of just falling apart. But this got me thinking about what differentiates the two. When I look at this barn, I find character in the many details. There are many details in the design – which is probably also true of people. The more interests we have created and the life paths we have followed create character as they accumulate and form our life tapestry. They add richness to our life story. This applies to our emotional life as well as our physical. We need to care deeply, even if it means getting hurt sometimes. Do our loves and hurts show up as character in our face, especially our eyes? When we look at people with character we begin to wonder about where they have been and what they have seen and what life music they heard through the years.

These sliding doors are salvaged for home use.

These sliding doors are salvaged for home use.

Old buildings with character don’t have changes for cosmetic reasons. They may be maintained but changes aren’t made to make them appear as what they aren’t. The windows on this barn stand out because they don’t fit – they aren’t authentic. For us humans, in our culture that worships youth, it is hard to stay authentic to what we are. We are pulled to cosmetic surgery, to dye our hair, and dress in young fashions to keep ourselves looking young. I want to age with integrity – but sometimes I waver. I remember a conversation with my friend Trudy, who is long deceased. She was bemoaning the fact that her hands were ugly, all spotted and veined. I had been noticing how beautiful they were, how much character they had. Now as my hands are aging and I sometimes fret, I think of Trudy’s hands. I hope that someday my hands will be as beautifully aged as hers.

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Old buildings with character are used buildings. They show the signs of use. They have nicks and dings and warn spots – kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit. Have you ever noticed the difference between new furniture that is made to look warn and authentically warn furniture? The warn-through-use furniture has character. We need to use our human bodies for them to develop character. I work hard to protect my body and to respect it but I also can’t live on a shelf. I want to do things and go places. I need to live on the edge – within the reasonable bounds of what my body can do. We can tell when people lived too hard a life and their bodies age prematurely. I don’t want that but I also need to continue to get out there if I’m going to have the nicks, dings, and warn spots that says this is a life well lived.

Julie has a very interesting image of this barn that you can see by clicking on this link. Julie is just entering the blogging community so give her a warm welcome! I also suggest you follow her because her photos will be worth seeing and she has the soul of a philosopher.