“As the years pass and the old must make way for the new so the aged begin to wilt and with their passing make way for the future generations.”
I cannot pass a ruin. I cannot pass by an old abandoned farmhouse or church with unpainted steeple. I cannot see a listing barn––weathered and tottering without pulling off the road and climbing through weedy ditches over fallen fences and through briars to get close enough for a photo shoot.
I love seeing the old in ruin with a tree sprouting from the inside or vines hugging stone or brick walls. I love the way land reclaims itself when humans are through with it. How an old farmhouse becomes a storage unit for the rancher and then a hay barn, then is left to field mice, raccoons and opossums to explore and finally to lose windows and become haunt of owls, roof and siding fades and falls. and soon the land is all that’s left except in spring.
Then flowers spring up for years where the flowerbeds were once laid. An untended lot or field is bright again with yellow daffodils and purple iris swaying in the spring winds. Flowers planted with love by some housewife or her husband, bringing smiles long after the planters have gone on.
This old building I am certain I must have passed many times over the years and yet I had no knowledge that such a building had been there. Someone must have cleared a treeline grown up that had hid it. I climbed over bricks and through weeds and briars to a clear spot.
A spray of purple aster peeked up at me. There were several old tires, four gasoline cans, paint buckets, a crippled lawn chair, a half- inflated sports ball, some empty oil bottles, broken glass, and shard of what had been a plastic bucket, bits and pieces of litter, the ubiquitous plastic bags, and rubble of bricks.
What had this been––a house, a school, a business perhaps a bakery or dairy, an old hospital or grade school building. I can only guess. It certainly touches my curiosity and makes me think. Who had lived, studied, worked, played or worshipped here.? How had the building died––a fire, years of hard service and neglect, vandalism, demoliton or salvage? Why was part still standing and what would become of this piece of history?
I wonder. Yes, I wonder.
Such a beautiful post – words and photos !
I loved the photos and the essay. It’ll make me think likewise when I see such leftovers from the past. Thank you Lisa.
Thanks for reading, Sue. I have a favorite in Muskogee that was an old stone motel. It had a front office and little cabins. It was the kind of place families stayed back in the Route 66 days.