The cool morning air sweeps across the weathered wood and rusted tin roof of the old barn on Muddelty Creek. The marsh in back of the barn seems oddly silent. All summer the reeds and rushes were teeming with life. Today only a single yellow butterfly skips over the cattail down and ruby red rose hips. I turn my attention to the old barn. It seems to be missing more of its rusted tin roof. It sags a little more than I remember from my last trip.
Barns are the heart of the homestead. They house the animals and store the feed. It’s normally where at least some of the equipment is held. It’s where the hands are happy. Busy hands are happy hands of course. Barns are the engine that powers a life close to the land. Sometimes they smell like hay and grains. Sometimes it’s the animals or even grease and oil from the machines. It all depends on the purpose of the barn which often changes in the course of a lifetime. The sounds of a barn will range from the livestock to growl of a diesel engine but it always includes human voices. Conversations between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, siblings and friends and any combination there of are soaked into the rough hewn walls and beams. The voice of the barn is their echoes and the story it tells us is that they slept in the house, but they lived here.
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