I have always considered myself to be an old soul. I love old things. Old music, old homes, old objects, old photos. They intrigue and capture me. I could sit for hours with old photo albums, flipping pages and imagining the stories behind them. I love strolling through the antique markets, always in awe of the knick knacks and collectibles before me. Dan always teases me that my music collection consists mainly of artists who aren’t even living anymore. But perhaps my favourite old things of all…are barns!
I love to imagine the story behind the barns. The family who cleared the land, who cut and logged the trees, planed the wood and put blood sweat and tears into starting their homesteads. What they held in the barn, the animals they kept, the chores that were done, the values and lessons that were learned. The possibilities are endless, and each barn comes with its own unique story.
Today Dan and I took a little road trip out to a piece of land that was purchased between him and a few other friends as an investment property. Located north of Edmonton, the property lies on the very outskirts of a small but growing town. In order to make a turn around on their purchase, the land needs to be cleared and emptied to be eventually sold.
We arrived to find a boarded up little bungalow, a rickety garage, a steel Quonset shop, an old horse shed and a big beautiful red barn! I think I spent the entirety of our time at the property in the barn, oohing and awing over the structure. It had been a long time since any animals had inhabited it but there was still a faint smell of straw and manure in the air. The old stalls stood off to one side, the remains of a small greenhouse were attached near the back door and then I found the real jackpot. I had seen the doors at the top of the barn before walking in so I knew that there was a hay loft above. I was searching for stairs or a ladder for access, and instead only came upon a small hatch in the roof. I was not leaving this place without taking a look in the hayloft. So after testing my footing on some rickety shelf looking boards built into the wall of the barn, I made my climb. I didn’t trust the floor boards up there so I remained half way through the door, snapping as many pictures as I could and taking it all in.
I cant even begin to describe the feeling that hay loft left with me. The way the sun had crept its way in between the boards of the roof. The way it shone through the dust, creating luminescent beams that scattered over the boarded floor. It took my breath away. I could have stayed all day. It was the kind of place you brought a picnic lunch, a good book and just disappeared for the afternoon.
It breaks my heart to know that soon memories will be all that is left of this beautiful old barn. If I knew it wouldn’t cost me an arm, leg and my first born child to have it moved, I would have it taken down piece by piece and moved to our property. But the work needed to make it functional again just wouldn’t be practical. So I took all the pictures I could and plan on taking home some mementos the day it has to come to down. I know that we move forward with time, and that everyday we are making so many advances in technology and practices in life, but how I would give anything to have the simple days back. The days of old barns, of creating a life for yourself and a future for your family and children. A simpler time. May we never forget the old memories and stories these old and abandoned places hold.