There is a barn outside my window.
Fading white paint perseveres under a (mostly) new green metal roof. Glass-block windows punctuate the low north wall. A neglected milk-house, used by my daughters as a rainy-day play place, juts out westward, toward the house. Inside, sunlight pours through the smudged six-paned windows that line the southern wall. Broken panes admit the swallows who take up residence every spring, dotting the beams above with their mud nests and swinging merrily from one glass pipeline to another. Two gutters, full of three decades of debris, stretch along the stalls for the length of the barn.
Around the back, a bank leads to the upper entrance. The light is dim. Dust swirls around two old hay wagons, stacked boards, and bales of ancient hay. The floorboards, here and there, are soft - even missing! - underfoot. One treads carefully.
The barn has sat empty, except for swallows and mice and farm-cats and children and the occasional coon, since the 1980's. It looks like the Rapture happened - tools and cow chains and various metal implements left lying where they were last used. Manure never mucked out of the box stalls molders when the rains seep in. Log sheets hang on a clipboard in the milk-house, next to a cupboard of long-expired antibiotics. Milkers dangle in water-less sinks.
Some days, when I am feeling wildly optimistic, I peek into the barn and see visions.
I see the aisles of tie-stalls replaced by an art-lined hallway, sunshine streaming into cozy groupings of plants and chairs, doors leading off into monastic retreat bedrooms where there used to be calf pens. A quiet library where the box stalls were, and maybe a dining room.
Upstairs, where now the air is thick with quiet ... I picture busy corners of creativity: a pottery studio, of course, and where the hay is stacked against the northern wall, a bank of windows, and an easel for paints or pencils. A walled-off workshop for woodworking, maybe, and a music room. Supplies for basket-making, chair-caning, candle-dipping, or any other kind of satisfying handwork. Weaving? The large high-ceilinged center of the floor for dance, perhaps. And skylights. A vast space for the rich interplay of communal creation, and for more solitary pursuits sometimes, too.
A drum circle. Poetry readings. Movie night. Jazz improv. Writing workshops.
A corncrib stands sentinel by the upper entrance, stacked full of my father-in-law's winter wood. It could be, instead, a compact one-man retreat, walled-in with earth and heated with wood, a respite from electric's hum. The farm could hide half a dozen little havens, tucked under trees, secluded from all but the birds.
: : :
I love to create beautiful things - pottery, food, photography, garden - but most of all I yearn to create beautiful spaces for living, for Life to happen. To take something dusty & broken, something that is the very symbol of disappointed dreams, and turn it into the joy of living ... would make my spirit soar.
What's standing between my dream and reality?
Research. Money. Hard work. Guts.
Will the barn ever become The Barn? I don't know.
This is my wildest dream.