As I stand here in my office in Oklahoma, and look up north, just over the hill I see the roof line of a beautiful old barn. It hasn’t been in use for years, but from the construction that remains, this barn shows signs of once being the center of a busy farm operation. Bale storage, manger space, room for a tractor and other big machinery, feeding troughs, and even a pulley system up to the second floor. A barn that was built to serve the needs of the farmer, no matter his needs and season, but that ended up lasting for generations beyond.
If only the boards that remain could tell their story. How well each board was planned for to make sure the barn would be stable under the weight of feed and equipment it would hold. I can almost hear my own Grandfather saying “measure twice, cut once” as I walk around the barn. I have heard many a story from the Old Timers that remain, about all the barns my Grandfather used to help build in the area. If only he was here so I could ask him if this was one.
Now standing idle for years, and falling to the exposure of the outdoor elements this barn too will one day be completely gone. It will take a few more years, before the structure completely falls, but the time will no doubt come. And unfortunately it is during my generation where fewer and fewer individuals are choosing to stay on the farm. More and more, if lucky enough to be raised outside of a metropolitan area, are being forced to the larger cities to earn a stable living and provide for a family. Farming costs rising, cheaper imports of food, back to back years of drought, make it more than impossible to support a family and life.
To many, they will see a monochromatic image of an old barn. I see so much more, in the wood that remains in this old barn. But I see even more in the fact that barn has been abandoned for years and no longer required to serve its original purpose.