Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week 50: Bristol Fruit Hills "Barn" Rising

After almost twelve month of a “sabbatical year” it is still the rising sun that takes my heart away. As I drive east on County Road 23, it finds me, glowing, rising over what used to be called “the fruit hills” on the east side of State Road 15. In its midst I see rising the skeleton of a barn! What?

Though I am running late for my first meeting of the day, I make a U turn at the intersection of 14 and 15 and go back to find just that angle, just that moment, when the barn – was it a barn? – was illuminated by the golden sun.

Turning around and coming back toward the sun, I ease off the side of the road and put on my emergency blinkers. Camera is on, ready. But now the sun is blazing higher, and my camera lens only makes its rays stream to the forefront of my view. I shoot and shoot through the small branches along the side of the road, zooming in and out, adding and subtracting light, trying to re-capture that moment when the roof beams perfectly held the sun. But now the sun shades the beams. I cannot see them.

Was it a barn? Who would build a barn? It looked like a barn. It was tall, taller than anything on that hilly side. The roof beams were above the crest of the hill. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were an apple barn?

I fantasize and remember the days twenty five years ago when we brought our small boys to pick apples just there, and to taste fresh milled cider. It was always one of the most delightful days of fall.

That was before growers were afraid of the liability dangers of ladders in apple trees. That was before apple blight robbed the harvest. That was before plastic bags of apples from Washington state or China were so much cheaper than Indiana and Michigan apples and “wise consumers” bought apples only at large supermarkets and no longer family orchards and roadside stands. That was before apple trees were left un-pruned and the weeds grew up around them. That was before apple barns were taken down so that new housing could be built. That was before State Road 15 needed to become wider, with turn lanes, for the new homeowners to reach their new homes.

I took my camera and its photos and sped to my meeting, leaving barn dreams behind.

Mid-afternoon I came home on State Road 15 and pulled off the side of the road across from the “barn.” I got a better look at the structure of the open wooden beams. Is it a barn? Wouldn’t it be exciting if it were a barn? Would one of the big home owners be building a barn? Why?

I pulled out and turned left on the nearest side road to try for another view. Turned in the drive where the home construction company had its sign. Saw the green security gate that would not let me near this – home.

All illusions now gone, I realized this huge home fit perfectly into the “neighborhood.” HUGE home. Larger than a barn. With beams just as tall, but maybe not just as strong.

Why am I captivated by barns, willing them into the sunrise?

When on earth on fertile fields did homes stand taller and larger than barns? And what were these homes to hold? Feed? Living things? Well, maybe a few humans. And why must they cut the apple trees down and plant the trees they think should live here around here.

Judson's Apple Stand is still on State Road 15, on the opposite side of the barn that is no barn. I have never stopped there. I should.

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