Fall Visitor

Fall Visitor

Monday, April 6, 2015

Goodbye, Old Friend


I regularly travel down the Zenith Road. I'm usually flying down it in my car in my quest to get somewhere when I should have left 5 minutes earlier. (I have a tendency to try to get "just one more thing" done before I leave home.)

Occasionally, I'm taking it at a more sedate pace, pulling a fertilizer trailer or steering a loaded grain truck.
But a familiar landmark that always signaled my proximity to home is in ruins after a Thursday night wind storm. The barn at the old Cotton Volker place fell victim to Mother Nature's fury.

That old barn revealed a lot about rural Kansas. We call it the Cotton Volker place, even though it's been 18 years since Cotton passed away. (It's the same way with some of our farm ground. It hasn't been owned by someone for years. But we still call it "the Palmer place.") That's just the way things are in rural Kansas.
 
The barn was built in 1910, so it was a landmark for many for the past 105 years. Its unique design made it handy to use as a location marker for friends or delivery people who were unfamiliar with rural living. I'd often say, "On the Zenith Road, you'll see a big, old stone barn on the west side. Go another mile north and then turn right."

The barn was constructed of concrete stones. They were mixed, poured into molds on site and then erected when they cured. Some of the barn builder's ancestors still live and farm in the community. And that tells the story of rural Kansas, too.  

Cotton Volker was born in the old house at the same farmstead on June 23, 1907, so he would have been 3 when the barn was built in 1910. He died in 1997 the same room where he was born.

"We all feel a great loss in the barn. We had many times of great fun in the hayloft," said his daughter, Nancy.

Besides using it as a landmark, the barn has been my silent partner to document life in this part of the world.
It was a silhouette at sunset ...
It reflected the old windmill tower in its window ...

It was ready for a frosty landscape shot on a cold Sunday morning. Yes, I made Randy stop, even though we were likely cutting the time close on our way to church.

The storm happened around 11:30 PM on Thursday, April 2, waking us from a dead sleep. The next morning was Good Friday.
Besides the huge pile of stones and wood where the barn collapsed, debris flew across the road into the ditch and onto the fields. 
As I stopped on the road and took photos, I saw nails and screws scattered on the road. I picked up a bunch, hoping to save my tires and those of my neighbors.

But as I thought about those nails on that Good Friday, I couldn't help but think about Christ, nailed to a cross. No, the "death" of a big, old barn doesn't compare to my Savior's suffering and death.

There will likely not be a "resurrection" of the barn. Even if a new barn or storage building is built, it won't be constructed like that century-old landmark. But amid the rubble, I saw the signs of spring. Purple henbit colored the ditch. And even though it's a weed, it reminded me of new life on a sad day.
The old trees that surround the homestead are also blossoming for spring.
The new life framed a scene of destruction.

And that's the message of Easter, isn't it? That's the Good News.

My email devotional from Guideposts on Easter Sunday seemed to fit:
It’s easy to crave resuscitation — to want God to return life to the way it was before — but Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” He doesn’t just restore. He transforms. Death can take away, but God gives new life. Christ is resurrection and life!
The storm on Thursday night left destruction behind across Central Kansas. But I've heard story after story of neighbors helping neighbors clean up debris. Power crews spent their Easter weekends in bucket trucks -- not with Easter buckets -- to restore power. And that is the story of transformation, too. Thanks be to God! 

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful memorial to the barn and all of the lives it touched throughout the years!

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    1. Thanks, Peggy! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. I spent a lot of time playing in that old barn! Summer trips to see mom Jan's family, wrestling with cousins, tractor rides, train rides with uncle Roger and learning that yelling "calf-rope" would stop grandpa Cotton's roughhousing! Sad to see the old barn in ruins, smiling at the new spring growth, thankful for the time spent there. Thanks for the story and pictures.

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    1. Thanks for the additional memories you shared. It sounds like a grand old place in its heyday!

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  3. What a beautiful barn! I had heard about the high winds and saw a lot of damage. So sad when part of our history is destroyed. A beautiful post, Kim!

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    1. Yes, it's always been one of my favorite landmarks. Thanks, Mrs. E!

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  4. Excellent post although sad for the old landmark. I like the way you tied it into the crucifixion--Good Friday nails---and rebirth and renewal. Life goes on but we will surely miss the old barn. Love the info too.
    MB

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    1. Thanks, Mary Beth. It just came to me as I saw those nails on the road on Friday afternoon.

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  5. Thank you so much for the marvelous story on our old barn.

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    1. You are welcome! Even though I don't have a direct connection to the barn, it's been a part of my life for 34 years and Randy's for all his life.

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  6. That ole barn looked pretty solid. Musta been some strong winds. That reflection photo is worth framing. It says a lot.
    Cheri

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    1. Yes, the weather service says it was straight-line winds up to 90 MPH. This was not the only old barn lost. Some people in our area are still without electricity. Clean-up is going to take a long time for a lot of people.

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