"Inside a barn is a whole universe, with its own time zone and climate and ecosystem, a shadowy world of swirling dust illuminated in tiger stripes by light shining through the cracks in the boards."
--Carolyn Jourden from her book, Heart in the Right Place
I am a confessed trespasser. Last week, I finally wound my way through a shelterbelt, branches pulling on my shirt and stickery weeds gripping my socks and lodging in my tennis shoes. I wanted a closer look at a barn that I've driven by and walked by literally hundreds of times.
It's not on land that we farm, so I was an uninvited guest. Like many other wooden barns in this part of the country, it may have been grand in its day. But those days are gone.
Not too long ago, a friend who grew up in the area asked who now lived in the house at the same farmstead. In the 27 years I've lived on the County Line, there's never been a house on the property. Maybe it was where those few boards still stand, several yards away from the now always open barn doors.
And, like the house, the barn is coming apart at the seams, kind of like an old frayed dress, with thread after thread unraveling. The sounds of a busy farmstead have long since faded into the sunset of days. Instead, the only murmurs are from the whistle of wind through the cracks in the walls and the trill of bird song.
I have glimpsed the barn in all seasons. In winter, it's more visible as the trees lose their leaves.
But, most of the year, the trees in the shelterbelt and around the old farmstead hide the big old barn from view except to the birds, squirrels and deer who wander the countryside.
And I joined them on a recent fall morning. It was worth braving the brambles and the stickers to make its acquaintance.