Warren Zevon notwithstanding, it has been kind of a weird week (and it’s only Wednesday). I’ll get back to the only classic rock song I know of that references beef chow mein in a few minutes. First things first.
Dad and I made a quick run down to the Farm on Saturday. Regular readers know that the Farm is pretty much my soul. It’s where I go to recharge. When shit doesn’t make sense in my life, I make the trek down there. The 4 1/2 drive is cathartic. Each mile under the tires helps shed some of the bullshit that has accumulated. By the time I get off of 32 on to 1750, I’m focused only on the now. There is some serious Zen in the drive. I hate most drives, but I have found as I do laps around the sun in this lifetime wearing this Todd-suit that when I’m driving to places that make my soul sing, the drive doesn’t suck.
And I was road-tripping with this dude, so how could it be a bad day? Seriously have you ever seen two more handsome fuckers than these Skaggs boys? If you have, I don’t want to hear about it.
One of the things that enhances my calm down on the Farm is the barn. The barn was always a mystical place to me. I did some exploring of the barn in my youth, but it was always with the threat of admonishment from Mamaw. I was constantly told the barn wasn’t safe. There could be snakes. The whole barn could fall.
In retrospect, I should have ignored her more than I did. I hear Dad tell stories of the barn and the magic is born anew. There are stories of the saddle room that had a cut out in the door for the cats. That same door is now my writing desk at home. Stories of the horses. And the tobacco hanging in the loft. It’s an amazing piece of my family history that was so vital. And now it’s probably going to fall over this year. So that added somewhat to the bittersweet feel of the trip. I was still surprised how much I got out of the relatively short trip (9 hours on the road, 2 hours actually at the Farm, and 1 hour looking at a trailer–but I’m jumping ahead).
Here’s the Barn as it looks today. The rounded grooves above the loft door are where tin had blown in the wind, etching its love song to the barn…
This is probably one of my favorite shots of the trip. It was when Dad and I were walking back from the barn toward the house. The gray skies with a hit of sunlight trying to peek through perfectly captured my mood.
I was happy, too, to see that the Emerald Ash Bore had not completely decimated this tree. This tree has grown with me and has always been on this Farm. I can’t imagine going down there and not seeing this. I know one day (likely this year), the Barn will fall, but my hope is that this tree will outlive my grandchildren. A stalwart sentry on the path to the land that was ours and will one day be again.
So…yeah. Bittersweet. Why? Well, for one thing, someone is living in the farmhouse now. For a time after my Papaw passed and my Mamaw couldn’t live down here on her own, a friend of the family moved in to the house with his family. They fixed up the house and took care of things. And there was life down here. Kenny and his family were/are amazing. When Kenny got his house built, he moved out, but never really stopped being a caretaker to this land that is my soul.
His son, lives in the house now. They are doing much needed repairs to the house–there’s still things needed in the aftermath of the tornado from a fews years ago. So Kenny’s son and fiancee are living there. And they’re fixing up the place. It was surprising to me how much it looked like a real house again. That’s the part that makes me a little sad, though. Because it does look like a real house again, that a real family is living in. But it’s not my house.
The good thing about it is, someone is taking care of the house and the land. And that will keep drifters from fucking with it as is happening quite a bit in that area of Eastern, KY. The other thing that is really cool about it is, after talking to Nathaniel, I know that the Farm means to him what it means to me. After all, we both grew up there. It’s a calming place to our soul.
I couldn’t be happier about who is living there. Truly.
Dad and I are looking to get a camper or trailer to put down there so we still have a place to crash and crap when we have to escape from this bullshit every day world.
This is me in what may be the last shot in front of the still standing barn. I don’t know how I feel about that. Actually, yes I do. I feel sad. Like part of my soul is about to die or go on a very long trip from which it may never return.
If you have a place of peace that makes your soul sing, never lose it my friends. Fight for it. Do what you have to do. The places where your soul can be free are few and far between.
My lunch is over, so I get the Werewolves of London are going to have to wait for another random meandering down the path of the twistedzen.
Have an awesomesauce rest of your day, my friends.