Archives for posts with tag: barn

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This painting has little to do with what I’m about to write it is simply one of my favorites

The house is the same as many would imagine a Midwest farm house to be, with it’s wrap around porch, shutters and standard off white paint. A wooden screen door gently taps frame in rhythm with the breeze. The two stories give a deceiving appearance that the structure may contain more than two bedrooms but in fact it does not. Roof covered in gray shingles, sloped to a pitch designed with the idea of discouraging snow from accumulating, gaining weight and collapsing inward, protects the inside from nature. Traditional style curtains can clearly be seen through windows on both floors, indicating the proprietors understanding of roots and willingness to stay with what works.

Infront of the house a large split pasture is seperated from gravel drive and small front yard by white wooden fence. The fence has a stoutness suggesting it is not merely a cosmetic structure but one of function as well. Grass in the yard is clipped much closer to ground than that of the pastures. Amongst this manicured lawn is a lone tree, the sort that stands tall and twisted informing anyone who looks upon it, that it has stood through many seasons and generations in this very spot. A rope plank swing hangs from one of the larger branches, the platforms worn wooden bench, displays years of fun and joy. Off behind the house in a somewhat typical fashion is a red barn, trimmed in the same white as the place of residence. Connected off the right hand side is another pasture, where seven horses can be seen grazing. The enclosing allows animals to freely enter their stalls for water or rest from weather at will. On closer examination large sliding doors can be seen, they can be closed at night containing the beautiful horses safely in thier respective stalls.

Upon entering the home the scent of linseed oil, varnish, and various other smells of oil painting fills the air. These aromas are often accompanied by gentle music softly playing in the background or the clear melody of someone playing live accusticly. Wooden floor, showing care taken to preserve, yet the undeniable pattern that years of those who live here coming and going, leads to a staircase. From staircases bottom both kitchen and family room can be viewed depending on which direction one is looking. An open family room with sofa, end tables holding matching lamps, two chairs and a long wooden record player stereo are the main furnishings, besides a desk in one corner. The desk has feathers, furs, a vise and other items used for the tying of flies, intended to at some later date entice a trout to rise. Beside it is an easel with a painting in progress tenderly perched upon the stained wood, which clearly shows its use. A television is the only furnishing which seems out of place hanging on the far wall in a position guaranteeing that in order to be viewed the chairs must be repositioned. Of course on nights when hockey is being played they are infact turned to face the lone modern device in the room.

Breathing deeply I take in all that is the home of my childhood and all besides nine months of my years on this Earth. Tomorrow evening I will walk from what is now Brooke’s bedroom down these stairs and out the door. Mom will hug me tightly on the porch, we all spend so much time on. She will hand me some extra cash whispering to not tell my father. Brooke will be waiting in the back seat when I climb into the front one next to Dad. I will turn to talk to Brooke as we pull away, in order to see the place I call home and mostly to watch Mom standing on the wooden porch. In a few hours drive time my things will for the second time be carried into a dorm room by my father. He will hand me some cash instructing me not to tell Mom. Brooke and I will hug and kiss goodbye, without words spoken between us. As Dad and Brookelyn get into vehicle I will say mostly to keep myself from crying, “I’ll be home for Thanksgiving!”

-Brooke’s Sister

I felt compelled to add that I am excited about going back to school! I’m also grateful to be going back early, because my early return means I have kept my athletics scholarship and will be returning for the sport, long before classes begin. Yet, it’s all quite bittersweet.

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Tender notes fill the room. My mind wonders to distant lands, New Orleans or a bay out west. Places romanticized by novels read, travelers from times long past and of course film. The melody of the record spinning on the turntable which is housed in stereo that speaks of another time, holds me to reality. We could own the finest Bose stereo and the records of our grandparents would still be played on this one that is more furniture than electronics equipment. Brooke insists that music is best when in its intended form, a true record. She of course has an iPod and downloads music of many styles and eras. However, Brookelyn’s favorites are on vinyl.

My eyes open slowly at the gentle touch of sister’s finger to my lips. Looking up from the sofa into Brooke’s pretty face, I offer a smile, to ensure that as always her unusual methods of gaining my attention are appreciated. She quickly signs that she would like my help this morning with the duties in the barn and caring for the horses. Knowing it has little to do with the work that she enjoys but instead is an opportunity she has chosen to spend with me I quickly agree.

Stepping into the cool shadows of the barn behind our home I’m saddened remembering that at Brooke’s age I fought with our parents about doing these tasks, which sister does without so much as a request. To escape self-ridicule I talk to Brooke about traveling, the wonders that foreign places must surely hold. Shovels scrape concrete floors clean with metallic sound, followed by the spray of water that completely clears the stall floors. The whole time I talk of piers, ships sailing far away and adventures neither sister have known. Brookelyn listens acknowledging my words with smiles and at times nods of head. She works slower than normal, allowing me to handle my share of the duties that have long fallen on her precious shoulders.

The bay which Brooke most rides tries to be near her, nosing her hair that hangs bellow the bowler covering her head. Like everyone who knows Brookelyn, Shane does his best to be as close to her as possible. She meets his gesture of love with a gentle blow of breath from between soft lips into his face, then pats the horse who persists on. Once Shane’s area is cleaned Brooke hops over the railing, he turns and exits to the open arena outside his stall. Failing to occupy his loves attention, he has retreated to his peers company, to recoup for another attempt in the future. Feed laid out, barn clean and tended we exit into the sunshine, my eyes taking a moment to adjust to the worlds brightness.

“Brooke, where do you most want to go?” I ask drifting back to dreams of ports, bridges and romantic locations.

Bright eyes meet mine as, “into the house to get a drink, then back out to saddle Shane and go for a ride. Want to come?” is signed in response.

Sitting in familiar saddle, I watch Shane give a slight snort in approval as Brooke mounts. My little sister in perfect riding posture leads the way out of the barn across sunny pasture, opening the bays gate into a slight gallop. Oceans, adventures and travels are forgotten, my heels gesture the horse beneath me to do his best to catch that which at the moment Shane has achieved, Brooke’s attention and favor.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Small hands, the sort that belong to a child, with slightly rounded fingers, offer me a folded note. Brooke on one barefoot stands tilting first to left than right to find the balance required to go up on her toes. She is at that age of adventure, the time in life when we want to try new things and something deep inside has made her fearless. Only age and the rules of our parents keep her from being off on an adventure, traveling down rivers or scaling mountains. At eleven, though older than Brooke, I am cautious knowing the world has teeth. Teeth that can bite you, leaving scars like the one on my right hip, caused by stitches that pieced me back together after the nail in the barn post found its way into my flesh.

Unfolding the wrinkled note, Brookelyn’s yet to be perfected penmanship spells out a plan. The sort of plan that would have been conducted in private secret by my smaller companion had there not been a need for my size and strength. At the time I assume she is also in need of my engineering and wit to complete the adventurous plot of bravery. Time has taught me to know better of that. Reading over Brooke’s words a second time, my young mind searches for an alternative or a way to discourage this act laid out before me. The plan is much too dangerous for the more cautious sister to take serious. Maybe a distraction will do the trick I tell myself suggesting Brooke allow me to push her on the swing hanging in our front yard.

Long hair trails behind my sister, who’s toes grip the wooden plank of the swing dad constructed and hung from the lone tall tree in our front yard. In efforts to reach new heights and feel her need of quest, I push Brooke firmly each time she approaches me. When swing and young sister reach the greatest point in the sky we have accomplished, to my surprise she leans forward and stretches. I know before it happens what will come next. In a shout I request she remain on the swing, adding my concern that it’s too high to jump. My warning disregarded the ropes holding the platform are released and youthful toes push off. Flying through the air towards appealingly lush soft green grass is Brooke. If she could I’m certain my ears would have been filled with her squealing in excitement. Landing on one foot, then tumbling forward, left hand catching the ground, Brooke rolls across the yard.

Sitting in the starch white of a waiting area with dad, mom leads Brooke out by her right hand. Her left arm is wrapped in plaster and then a purple tape, intended to contain the broken bone of her arm to ensure it heals properly. Again I apologize to everyone, my parents ensure me that accidents happen and it’s not my fault. Brooke smiles huge and hands me the stickers she has received for her bravery form the doctor. This is her way of saying, “hey sis, I jumped! Chill out and have a sticker, it’s no big deal!”

Later that day holding one of my fathers hands and Brooke holding the other, looking out across the fields beyond our home, with the safety of fathers grip we complete Brooke’s earlier noted request. From the top of the barn I wonder how this is safer than the swing we used so many times. Dads hand ensures me that it is not dangerous, his words explain how we can never come up here without him and I have my answer. Dad holding Brooke’s pants by the top back, she stretches bravely on her toes, looking out as far as she can see, assuring anyone in doubt that unlike me, bravery can not be diminished by the teeth of our world.

Retelling the events today and hearing my sisters perspective made me laugh. Brooke while reliving it all with me simply wrote, “It was actually quite disappointing! I’d hoped you could see the ocean from the top of our barn.”

-Brooke’s Sister