An Old Barn

Author Photo
By Lisa D. Johnson

As I drove up to the barn, I could hear the gravel crunch under the tires of my car. The tall grasses were waving on both sides of the driveway and a row of shorter grass grew down the middle. At one point in the road, there was a low spot where all I could see was the billowing grass, the lane in front of me and the blue sky above. I stopped my car and savored the moment with a smile on my face, knowing that the barn was just up ahead!

I eased forward and there it was. Standing so tall and stately. Such a bright spot of color against the brown, green and golds of the surrounding area. I began taking pictures before I even got close. The main door had an old fashioned metal latch that protested with a squeek as I turned it. But with a click and a tug, it popped free and allowed me access to the inside. There were some things stored inside, but it still felt spacious. The sun was shining and I could see its light through the windows and pouring through the loft openings upstairs. The sun that was streaming in had a soft, hazy look. It felt like time was moving slower in that moment. In the barn, the air was still. It was quiet except for the birds singing outside. I walked around, seeing the ladder that led straight up to the loft. The feeding trough that was built in and ran almost the whole length of the barn. The old wooden paned windows that were painted white. My footsteps were almost silent on the concrete floor. I walked to the end of the barn to what looked like it had been used as a milking parlor many years ago. Among some of the items stored in that space was a short, sturdy metal stool. The surface was thick with several layers of paint. The most visable being white. The sides of the stool had punch work like what you would have seen on the old pie safe doors. It stood out in contrast to the dim dusty corner that it was sitting in. The sunlight streaming through the window lit up that little stool.

Standing there, I could almost see the Farmer bringing the family milk cow in through the big sliding barn door behind me. I could imagine the metal runners sliding smoothly in their time worn tracks. The cow going to her usual spot knowing there would be grain for her. The little stool would be brought up next to her. The person milking her would settle into their familiar routine. Finding comfort and delight in the motion of milking and the sound of the milk streaming into the bucket. A quiet moment during a busy day. I moved back to the ladder and climbed into the loft. As I clambered up, my excitement built! The old wooden floor that was covered with a layer of dust reminded me of the barn that I used to play in as a child. My Grandpa and his brother owned a dairy and when I couldn’t hang out with the cows, I would explore the barn. This one felt the same. I was surprised with the feelings that it brought back. It was empty and dusty but there was such a warm and welcoming feeling. Calm and peaceful. I just stood in one spot and looked around. The ceiling was so tall above me. The original pulleys were hanging in the loft openings. I wondered what it would be like to pull hay from the ground level up into the heights of the loft. I looked out a window. The panes were dusty but I could still see the gravel road that I had drove in on. The grasses were blowing softly in the breeze. I thought about hay being stacked in that loft again. The coziness that it would bring. The cushion of the loose hay lining the floor. The cats that would snuggle in its warmth and the kittens that would play on and around the bales. I began to imagine the barn filled with life again. The sounds of animals munching contentedly and the shuffling of their footsteps as they enjoyed the saftey of their barn. I could picture chickens scratching around to look for any lost tidbits of grain or scratch. I could almost smell the sweetness of the hay and grain.

I climbed down the ladder and walked to the side of the barn that looked like it had once been set up for horses. Both ends had dutch doors. I couldn’t resist and had to open one. The latch was handmade and looked like it had been put on many years ago. The barn red paint was wore around the edges from being exposed to the weather, used and chewed on! So much history in one little piece. The door opened to an enclosed paddock where an old water trough still sat. An area any horse would love.

Even with the age of the barn and it looking like it hadn’t been used in a very long time, everything was still so sturdy and purposeful. My whole time in the barn had me near tears, happy tears! I saw so many things that reminded me of my Grandpa there. He had built things to function and last that were practical and had a purpose. It also made me yearn for simpler times and ways of doing things. That day, I had known that I was going to take pictures of a barn that I had admired for many years. And I knew that I would like it! What I didn’t expect was that I would love it and feel so comforted by an old barn!

Published on Nov 12, 2013