Appreciating old buildings while they still stand
My favorite mountain biking trails are luckily not far from home. The drive is quick but passes a couple of farms, apple orchards, and climbs a hill with a great view. A minute before the trail head stands this small, old barn. It's nothing major: a couple of stalls and some other stall or room on the far end. But it exudes a pleasantness. It's quiet, off the beaten path, somewhat forgotten, worn-down. I sometimes drive slowly past, wondering about its past, how old it is, and what its future might hold.
This summer, I saw the field behind it suddenly piling up with truckloads of clean fill. And when riding on the edge of the trails near this field, I saw clear-cutting well into the woods. So, sadly, a neighborhood of McMansions will apparently be erected, and this barn's days are numbered.
As autumn progresses and another riding season winds down, I won't drive that road much longer. So, on a recent cold morning, I decided to head up there for a sunrise. Sipping my coffee in the crisp air, and watching the sun break over the horizon on the far side of the field, I enjoyed the moment. This barn has stood for decades, been disregarded by an overwhelming amount of cars passing by, but is actually beautiful. When you stop and study, it has great grains in the untreated wood, character from the neglect, and colorful trees on the far side of the field. When the sun shone through the wood boards, it completed a picturesque but solitary moment. I don't know if it will remain next spring, and everything has a shelf-life. But I know I'll be glad that I chose to not drive by it this time, instead appreciating it and that moment.