Isn't that one of the rules of physics? Everything moves toward chaos. I think it deserves some sort of mention in art, too, don't you? There's a lot to be said for fine workmanship-- its beauty, intricacy, polished assembly. There's even more to be said for the effects of the unraveling of such fine workmanship upon the eye and the imagination. When you drive by a well built barn, are you inspired to create a painting or snap more than a cursory photo? For me, I know that I tend to give a well built barn a nod of satisfaction and then move on, looking for something with more character to inspire a great photograph. That almost seems wrong, doesn't it? I value skilled workmanship and fine materials. However, I'm pretty sure they don't inspire me as much as skilled workmanship from another era and fine materials that have aged.
What's the draw of rust and faded wood? I believe it is the knowledge that many stories must have enfolded within the walls of a building old enough to be falling down from age. When I spotted the barn in this photograph, I wondered:
- Who owned that farm when the barn was built?
- Who cut the wood and took it to the sawmill?
- Did that wood actually come from trees growing somewhere on the farm?
- How much did it cost to buy the metal for the roof?
- How many seasons of savings had to be gathered to build the barn?
- Was there a barn-raising with neighbors bringing food and spending the day joking and laughing while they put up the frame?
- What did the farmer wear? Overalls? Khakis? Whatever Sunday clothes had been worn to rags?
- Did the farmer's wife keep chickens and a cow in that barn?
- Who milked the cow?
- Did the cow have a name, like Bessie or Ol' Bossie?
- Were there barncats and hound dogs sleeping in the sunlit loft on winter afternoons?
- What happened when the farmers got older and could no longer handle all of the daily chores?
- Did someone move back home to help them run the farm?
- Did those helpers attempt to slow the ravages of time, or did they just let it all slowly die?
- Are there any antiques hidden in the corners of that barn?
- Would anyone get mad if I parked the car on the bank of the road and walked into the barn?
See? Lots more to think about an old barn that's tending toward chaos, isn't there?