I remember being in the presence of an old barn. This was back in the seventies when the summers were hot and seemed to last a whole year, not a mere few months. We with nothing more to do but to wander aimless and reckless, our shorts hiked up and our faces flushed from the heat, trudging through yards and barren forest looking for adventure. Or shade.
There stood before me a large black structure, the wood rotted and the inside dilapidated. The tall A-frame of the roof pointing skyward as if noting the direction of heaven. The window at the top was gone; replaced with just a wooden bi-fold door hanging off its hinges. The wood was split and left hanging, the wind blowing the shards innocently, as if afraid to blow too hard and break them. The grass lay brown and dry, the summer quickly turning into fall the leaves having fallen, dried up brown and withered away. The dirt road was dry and gravelly, the stones crunching when we walked upon them. There was a gaggle of us, the kids. We were dispersed in age, the older ones herding the younger ones around the barn discovering it’s secrets and noting its dangerous allure. We were alone out in the country. Of course, near Chatham the country is everywhere around the outskirts of town. I couldn’t have been far from where I lived. I can’t imagine my mother ever allowing me to stray too far from her sight. The attraction to the old building was in its mystique. The rotting wood that once housed what exactly? Animals? Hay? Corn?
I’m not sure I was ever inside the barn. The large looming face stands resolutely in my memory, however, any ideas of lofts or ropes or any items deemed ‘barn materials’ seems out of reach to me. Was it a dream I had and I thought it was a memory? Maybe, as the motives for attending the scene secretly remain hidden within the black rotting wood.
My brother seemed to have been the catalyst for my presence at the site. My cousins were there as well, but more as outlying extras in a movie set. Their milky dreamlike movements float through my mind and I can see their smiling faces looking down at me, mocking my existence among the big kids.
My memory of the old barn ends there. I have no idea how we managed to travel so far outside of town, or even if it was that far out. I just remember the feeling of freely walking about and curious as to its existence. I know it’s no longer standing out in the country, but it’s nice to visit from time to time….