Friday, May 27, 2011

Seeing the Country Sights

Guest post by Sandra Heska King

The farmers still can’t plant.

The earth struggles to swallow all the sky continues to deliver.

And I think how sometimes it seems to take forever for me to soak up all that God pours in before I notice any kind of growth.

The air hangs heavy with the scent of lilacs.

I can’t walk in this weather, so I decide to take a drive to see if I can see the familiar through new eyes.

I’m fascinated with the broken down, the hidden, and forgotten.

Pieces of the landscape that connect us to the past.

That are part of our history, but that will one day be gone forever.

I still miss our 150-year-old barn that stood on a stone foundation, then finally collapsed in the wind a couple of years ago.

A shadow of family history since entombed underground and now exists only in photographs and memories.

And kept alive in stories.

The mist gives a different perspective, reminds me that I see dimly in this life.

A weathered barn stands proud and dwarfs a crow as it flies by.

And I think of how insignificant I am in the scheme of things—yet how He knows every hair on my head.

The country is, of course, scarlet splashed, with a color I now connect with hope.

It’s even said that at one time, some farmers may have mixed stock blood with linseed oil and skimmed milk and lime and rust to give the protective coating a brighter red color.

At least for the interior.

How appropriate.

My husband’s great-grandfather built this barn in about 1890. A later owner painted it blue.

It’s obviously deteriorating.

But the red bleeds through the blue.

Like hope bleeds through brokenness, hovers over the hidden, and remembers the forgotten.

If we look for it.

My husband frowns later as he hangs over my shoulder.

“Where did you take that picture? What is it?”

It’s mostly just stuff that’s always been here.

You just didn’t see it.


Special Guest Post by Sandra Heska King

Wife, mom, grandma, nurse, Bible teacher, writer, blogger, and deep see diver who looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary and the miraculous in the mundane. On Twitter as @SandraHeskaKing and at


  1. Welcome to the The Barn Door, Sandy! I love your pictures!! There's just something about old barns--love them. Oh the stories they could tell...

    Thanks for being with us!

  2. I live in the midwest and am fascinated by the barns and houses that are falling down. I too wonder about those who lived there. Beautiful photos.

  3. We had talked about having our old barn restored at one point, but so so expensive. My husband has so many stories he can tell about it. I wrote about some here if you're interested:

    And this was the day of the "wake."

    Thanks so much for having me today! Even though we couldn't post all 22 photos! :D

  4. Beautiful photos with lovely words, Sandra! Thanks for the thoughts. I also stare longingly at the empty broken homes and barns that cover our landscape. A mere shadow of the spirits that once lived there, perhaps forgotten by man but never by our Creator. So nice to "see" you at the Barn Door!

  5. 'the red bleeds through"

    just like His blood seeps in and cleanses us...

    love this... and am blessed to live surrounded by such sights

  6. I was contemplating some dilapidated buildings yesterday myself ... there's such a fascination about them.

  7. Old buildings seem to have character built in. There's a deserted log cabin built by my father near where we have our present summer cabin, and a collection of log buildings across the lake, constructed years ago by a trapper. There are others along some of the back roads, too, and they all have a story, although I don't know many of them. "Pieces of the landscape that connect us to the past." I like that. :)

  8. I love the way you *see* things...

  9. Loved this post and the pictures- I have many similar- always wondered what life stories the boards could tell, what children ran laughing in and out of the doors- what dreams they once had.... Thank you for sharing this post with us. I too want to soak up all I possibly can God showers on us.

  10. I love the pictures! I love old barns and houses too and really hate that we don't take the time to restore these parts of our history.


  11. I love this post. History is fascinating, and you brought it out beautifully, Sandra. Thanks.

  12. What incredible pictures. These old barns and buildings have stories of their own! Thanks for this great post.

  13. Thanks much, everyone. So nice to meet new friends and wave to "old" one. And so many lessons of life to be learned if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

  14. Oh, Sandy - this is just so lovely. Any possibility you could post all 22 over at your own blog? Would love to see the whole visual story.

    We have a worn looking barn on a favorite drive we take here in central CA and I keep trying to figure out how to find it so that I can photograph it. I can see it from the highway at 70 mph, but can't figure out the access roads to get there from the other side. Something about these old wooden structures speaks to most of us, I think - of basic, connected-to-the-earth living, of life-and-death stories, of harvesting and planting and winnowing. Love this, love this.

  15. Hi Diana,

    I'll probably post them bit by bit. You know, just to keep you coming back. ;)

    There's a story behind our house. It used to sit up closer to the main road, but when they put the highway in, my inlaws had to move it. When they did, they "modernized" it 60s style. Removed all that old carved woodwork. Put plywood over wide board floors and carpeted. We'd have to redo all the doorways to restore it. Sigh . . .

  16. nice post - we have a generational farm - my husband is 3rd and the boys are 4th. My son refurbished a barn from his great grandfather. I am more than blessed to live on a working farm. I too look at the old barns and wonder who lived and loved there. Thanks for the pictures -awesome.

  17. Some days I wish we still farmed, but we just do it on shares now. Someone else does all the work. Of course, if my husband had not gone into business, I never would have met him. ;)

    I once dreamed about turning our old barn into a craft/quilt/antique building or something. I guess I dreamed too long.

    This land, too, was generational--and years ago designated a centennial farm. Six generations while it was working--7 if you count my son and nephew. We were one of the sites the local airport wanted to snag a few years ago. That was a bit "exciting." But they backed down. Whew!


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