Thursday, March 02, 2006

Old Field Succession

The barn is white with a slate-green roof. The hayloft window has dark streaks flowing down the outside, pointing and fading away just above the big barn doors below. The roof is beam-broken, saddlebacked. The vane stands atop one of the onion-dome roof vents. This vent, on the broken roof, tilts severely but easily. The vane points ever up to the above. No longer does it register horizontal, earthly weather. It responds to another, constant climate.
Starlings nest in the barn, its only inhabitants. When the barn was new the ancestors of these birds, a handfull or two, lived in Central Park--brought there because a man from Northumberland once wished to torment the King of England, and because a poet wrote it down.
They swirl around the broken barn, wonderful, unwanted birds.

Governed productivity has migrated from this place: it is no longer a farm. The fields now grow cedars in the open, sumac umbrellas, brambles and little pines. A parcel has been squared off and inexpensive homes built, with vinyl siding and vinyl windows and white aluminum carports, but these are far from the barn, and there are hundreds more acres left alone. An old small cemetery, with no more than twenty inhabitants, sits hard by the highway: a square of memory surrounded by wire pasture fence.


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