Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Sixth

There's been a meme floating around the blogosphere for awhile and up until yesterday it had not landed on my doorstep. That was OK with me because in the past I've seen it in various incarnations, including post the 4th photo in the 4th folder, or the 5th photo in the 5th folder. I've been closing my eyes tight and saying, "No, not me, don't choose me."

It's not that I haven't wanted to participate. That's not the case at all because I'm all about photographs. It's just that upon looking into my photo folders I discovered that the 4th photo (or the 5th for that matter) were terribly boring and I couldn't think of one thing to say about them. But all that changed yesterday.

I never ceased to be amazed that the internet works it's magic and 7,500 miles is erased at the click of a mouse. My blogging friend in India, The Embellisher at Million Little Stitches has tagged me for the photo meme, with the following rules:

1. Pick the 6th picture in your 6th folder

2. Post the story that goes along with it

3. Tag 6 other people to do the same thing and let them know.

Now this is something that interests me. Why? Because I love the 6th photo in the 6th folder on my computer. It's an image that I could write a book about. This was taken January 31, 2004 and I remember it like it was yesterday.

The farmhouse next to this barn had been torn down after years of being a rental property. The barn had a temporary reprieve but would be dismantled 8 months after I shot this photo. It was the first time I'd entered the empty barn and as with other experiences, I always find the first time to be a time of heightened awareness.

It was an extremely cold day and I was struggling with camera, attempting to take photos wearing heavy gloves. My first impression of the cavernous hayloft was immediate. I reminded me of a soaring cathedral. Light streamed in from a tiny window a story and a half above me. Sturdy ladders climbed up the sides to the highest parts of the barn and also through the floor and down to the milking room.

In a small storeroom adjacent to the large hayloft I found this:


It's a lightweight barn jacket that had been thrown over a line. It was draped so beautifully and reminded me more of an art installation than a long-forgotten piece of clothing. I saw the picture in my mind and snapped it through a frozen lens. I've been sure if the image itself evokes the emotion I felt that day. Perhaps it's out of context, an image removed from the surrounding decay of the former farm and the nearby expensive homes that were closing in on the property.

This was a barn that had provided a farm family with a livelihood. This was a barn that had been keep alive with a fresh coat of paint and the warm, moist breath of the livestock. It had protected tons of hay from the elements and provided a place for the cows to be milked.

Then one day the last of the hay was hauled away and the farmer took off his barn jacket, tossed it over the line and walked out of the barn, never to return.

I love the 6th photo in the 6th folder.

NOTE: I can be certainly be accused of sometimes romanticizing rural and farm life. It's true! Many of the local farmers laugh at me because to them a barn is just a barn. it's a place where they've worked incredibly hard. You have to ask yourself if you'd wax poetic about your office building! No matter, I loved this barn and what I termed it's "sacred space". As always, if you'd love the play along, consider yourself tagged.



You mentioned 'warm moist breath of livestock'. You did not mention the 'gas of livestock' in the barn! Good post. I appreciate a 'good barn' too. I get you.

Heather said...

If I lived near you, I would totally be your "old building exploration cohort". I love them so much and often wax poetic about them too!

Jody Blue said...

Well done.

Jenni said...

I love it, too, and the story you told just makes it better.

Kathi D said...

If you're barn crazy, I am too. There is a big difference between a barn and an office building.

restyled home said...

What a great story and photo! You have a way with words, you do...~sigh~



Beautiful picture, very poignant. There are no barns as such probably because the weather is very different in India. Would love to join you on one of your trip exploring old forgotten places which are rapidly disappearing - like our old bungalows which are making way for apartments.
Thank-you for sharing.