An Old Barn

On County Road 7, about three miles south of Clearwater, on the right side of the road just past 1000 East, there is a barn. To be accurate, it is no longer quite a barn. The roof collapsed long ago. Two of the walls have fallen in. Mostly it is splintered wood and debris.

It stood once. Even then its wood was aged and faded. Inside was dark and dusty and smelled of the remembrance of livestock and hay. Shafts of sunlight sometimes pierced through cracks and holes unto narrow passages of rough ground, shimmering on ropes tied onto a slat at one end and frayed at the other, on misshapen metal in corners and hanging from posts.

Before that, even, it might have been different. But how is one to know? Goats and pigs and chickens in the stalls, maybe. A small tractor parked inside, or a workshop in a corner. Daily chores, probably. Was there once a boy hiding away in the loft with sullen thoughts? Or was it with bright daydreams? Let’s say a man visited in early morning or on all mornings. Was he struggling, striving, or thriving? He had a face, most likely. Was it worried, carefree, or just tired? Imagine an accident there or a muttered conversation or a rendezvous or a workaday repetition of actions or a thing that happened because such things happened at such a time. Whichever seems pleasing. Or none at all. How is one to know?

Now cars pass daily in a steady stream. They see the fallen heap, possibly, the rotten boards and sagging remnant. If they do not, who can blame them? It is a pile of trash along a busy road, and it is not their destination.

It needs removed. Finish the demolition, gather the pieces, and dump it somewhere. What was is no longer.

Perhaps in a year or two on County Road 7 south of Clearwater just past 1000 East there’ll stand a solid brown residence, two stories tall with a three-car garage and a swimming pool out back. No one will ask what was there before. No one will wonder and no one will care. And a driver, if he notices the new house, can comment on the well-kept landscaping. Neither boy nor man will enter his thoughts, neither livestock nor machinery, neither whiff of manure nor snatch of yesterday. He will continue on, unimpeded.

Then, one day, when the bypass is finally completed, he may cease to travel the road at all.

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