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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When I was very young putting up hay was a way for most young men to make a little spending money. A person could drive through the country at certain times of the year and the fields were lined from one end to the other with rows and rows of square bales of hay. The farmers would be seen with huge stacks of perfectly compressed blocks of cut and dried grasses of various types towering over tractors or pickup trucks on their way to a barn. It wasn’t really uncommon to a couple of the older boys riding on top of the stack as the vehicle drifted carefully across the fields while two more boys tossed more bales up to add to the stack. The unloading process was just as laborious with the boys on top of the stack tossing the bales back down or directly into the barn for storage.
Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s I started seeing the large round bales like you see in the feature image. My grandfather began remarking on how his poor cows wouldn’t be able to have a square meal. The iconic large stack of square bales disappeared into the past. ( I’m sure that there’s still some around however I haven’t seen it for decades). The crew of three or four teenage boys was replaced by a tractor with a fork lift attachment. The round bales turned out to be a be a better deal for the farmer because of the labor costs but every time I see the round bales I get nostalgic for the view of acres and acres perfectly lined up rectangular blocks on contour with the landscape.
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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Country Zen 1” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form onmy website.( justclick on thethe bell below)
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A quiet country road in the Appalachian Mountains is incomplete without at least one Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn. The once large West Virginia based tobacco company would paint your barn for free. Of course, there was a catch. They got to paint an add on at least one side of the barn. But it was a good deal for the farmer and cows are not known to be concerned about the color of their barn. There was a second Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn just a few miles away from the one in tonight’s feature image but it finally sucome to the ravages of time. These old barns are really a form of endangered history. The one pictured here has been a challenge to even get a decent picture of. It’s in a place where you cannot pull over and it’s in a blind curve to boot. I have driven by multiple times with my camera hanging out of the window and snapping photos as I pass. After a few years of practice shots I finally got one that I could publish. I guess that determination eventually pays off.
Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to FollowLloyds Lens Photography on Facebook.Recently, I’ve been made aware that many of my posts on Facebook are being buried in the feed. So, if you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of theWelcome Page.
Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn In Zela” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using theContact Form on my website.(Note, I do not share or sale contact information. EVER)
4X6 is $5.00
5X7 is $10.00
8X10 is $15.00
I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use theContact Formor message me on Facebook for details.
It’s said that photographers work with two main elements. Light and Time. I suppose that’s why so many of my writings emphasizes the observation of time. Tonight I’m looking at another version of my favorite old barn and I began to think about how quickly all of our tomorrows become yesterdays. It seems that I was just blogging about how much I was looking forward to Springtime and this morning I saw the leaves falling on my lawn. When I was a kid summer seemed to last a lifetime and today I blink my eyes and it’s almost gone. Sure we’ve had some unseasonably warm weather but the light is fading fast. A few years ago I was in a gym and one of the other men in the locker room made the same observation about how fast the summer went by. His friend answered that when they were only six years old summer was 1/6 of their lives. Now they’re sixty years old and summer was only 1/60 of their lives. The passage of time was relative to the age of the observer.
We live in the moment but moments pass so quickly and we are left with a collection of yesterdays. We can plan what we want tomorrow to become but we only have now to bend time and forge the now into a yesterday worth collecting. Mistakes will be made. It’s inevitable. Many of us are trying so hard to go back and fix the errors that we are losing the now and the opportunity for a new and better yesterday. You see, the old cliche about building a better tomorrow is just that. A cliche. All we can really do is use our now in the best way possible and hope that when we are finished with it that it matures into a better yesterday. A yesterday that is captured by the lens of memory and added to a fine collection which can be shared with those we love.
They say that life is more about the journey than the destination. I have a different idea of how important the destination is but the journey is more than just getting from point A to point B. It’s kinda hard to put into words but life should be about living. We are far more than just biological machines meant to perform repetitive tasks so that we can earn money which is to be handed over to someone else. Life is a spiritual exploration of God through His creation. Life is more than a measure of time which we perceive in small slices.
A few minutes ago something happened and tomorrow we will experience something else. We mark the nature of time by the occurrence of events and line them up in a neat order. You might think that tonight’s feature image is of a barn, a road, power lines, plants and clouds. But it’s not. It’s a map of time. The old barn on the left is the past fading away behind a vail. The plants and clouds are the present day having it’s season and moment to flourish. Road before us and the power lines that stretch out into the distance are the future that draws us ever closer to the destination.
All three elements in one point as a single occurrence. Each with it’s aspects but never truly separate. We can only pause for a moment of observation and check our progress before moving forward. In that pause be sure to check your bearings and experience life more than existence.
What is it that we love about very old things? I like nothing more than stumbling upon an old well weathered piece of wood or a rusty hunk of iron. Last night I talked about God’s perspective of time and how time carries us along as it flows. Tonight I’m thinking about our perspective. As time pulls us ever closer towards a destiny we cannot see clearly we can only measure the progress by looking back. Those things were once shiny and new now serve as landmarks. The old rusted trucks, crumbling stone and this old barn are like anchors that help us navigate the raging river of time. It’s even better if there’s a personal connection with the object. I have to wonder if anyone ever passes this barn and relives a special moment? Was there a first kiss that happened here? Was this the place where a spark grew into true love and then into a family? Was this the place where a parent answered a child’s important questions about life’s mysteries while doing the daily chores? Did a grandparent tell stories about when the parent was a kid? Do these stories still echo across the river of time? Yes. I think that they do. These very old things are the sentinels of memories that are still being made today.