My Old Barn

I fell in love with the old barn across the driveway when we moved here last summer. They didn’t use it anymore except to store stuff and the kids were given permission to play there. Baby dog used it to catch rats and the cats used it to play and catch mice. Everybody that visited used it as a place to take great pictures.

I used it for moments of silence in my otherwise very noisy life. Somewhere during all of this, a part of my imagination that I had left behind in the process of growing up was restored to me. The part that reminded me how to look beyond what is seen and imagine what used to be, or what could have been. The world of joy that comes from simply imagining. This world has the capability of giving anything new life. The kind of life that children give to their toys, to their imaginary friends, to their pets. The kind of life that restores a sense of wonder in the world around you.

I’m thankful that we moved here before they burned the old barn down. I didn’t want them to. I cried about it on several occasions. I could say I cried because of my pregnancy hormones but that wouldn’t be true. I cried because it felt like I was losing an old friend. I cried because of the loss of history and because all of the smells would be gone.

Have you ever gone into an old barn and even though there aren’t any animals in it you can still smell them? Not in a bad way. I guess its more like the smells of all the things that are associated with animals. Hay, leather, old wood and some that you’re not sure what they are, but they somehow fit there. I love those smells. To me they are peaceful.

Smell has the power to transport you to another time. It was easy to picture the farmer bringing in his milk cows in the morning, the dog running after him enjoying the early morning spring air, while the barn cat watched from her bed in the loft above hoping for some spilled milk, her litter of kittens mewing beside her.  Or the team of draft horses in their places, munching on their morning ration of oats while the rancher harnessed them up for another cold morning of feeding in the far pasture. Their breath coming out in cold puffs of air that smelled sweet like the grain. The rancher’s son watching, stomping his feet to keep them warm and wishing for once that he was still too small to join dad for this particular chore.


I have many vivid memories, and none of them are mine. For all I know they never happened, but the smells told me they could have and therefore I choose to believe that they did. The barn is now gone and with it the smells, but it brought back to me this part that I had forgotten and for that I’m thankful.

Enjoy it while its there, learn from it while you can and when its gone remember it with fondness. As a friend of mine reminded me, we all have to be burned down for the new to be built. It can be painful yes, but if you learned from the old, then the new will be that much better.


12 thoughts on “My Old Barn

  1. Your description and the photos transferred me to your barn; I can almost smell it! I love old barns, and obviously that’s an old one, with log timber construction. K, here’s the deal: could you blog me to Tahiti, say maybe this week?

  2. It almost makes me want to cry realizing that I completely missed the barn…I was seriously looking forward to exploring it after seeing your fabulous photos. Your writing gave me the warm fuzzies AGAIN!!!

  3. Beautiful post. At one point whole reading I actually closed my eyes and took a deep breath trying in vain to stand in that barn. Your descriptions are so vivid. ((HUG)) Sorry it only lives in your memory now. But it does still live and now a little piece is in each reader too.

  4. I grew up on a farm, and spent many hours dreaming in and around the barn. Your post brought back so many memories. I close my eyes and can smell the smells and hear the sounds. Thank you for a beautiful post.

  5. I grew up with a large German barn. How many hours did we spend with our imaginations at full capacity in the hay loft ? There was always one cat or another with kittens under the steps . I think I’ll find my imagination again .

    • An imagination is something that most of us shed as we “mature”, but I don’t think we were ever meant to lose it. It’s vital, to my way of thinking, that to live with a wonder for what God has surrounded us with, you have to be able to use your imagination. Go find it Mom!! I’ll encourage you all the way there! Love you!

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