Why do you paint barns? Often I hear this question. Personally, I find barns a very spiritual, comforting and honestly open place. Earliest memories of barns connect me with my first love of horses. My parents took me to the VFW to ride. Little did they know the sweet old fellow I was sitting on loved to jump and the ring they turned me out in had a few poles set up. Before they could stop me, I was headed toward and over what felt like a leap into joy! All I wanted to do was hang at the barn from then on. The smell of leather and even muck suit me just fine. Barns connect us to so many memories and people.
So much of our family's history is tied up with barns and the farms they support. My Ancestry searches are full of farmers from the common to the Darley's of the Darley Arabians. I think most people understand this and have similar stories. My husbands family had several barns. Recently, his grandmother Lucy's barn gave up the ability to protect. Lucy had long been gone but the farm was still in the family. When my husband, Jeff, and I moved our home from a five acre farm, we gutted our barn since the new owners were into tennis. It was hard to see that happen. We had stored the beautiful tongue and groove wood, stall fronts, gates and everything we could take in Mamaw Lucy's barn. With Lucy's farm being sold soon and the roof barely hanging in there, my sweet husband moved the inside of our barn again. This time to a storage facility to await a new site.
Over the years, seeing my sons enjoy our urban farm life and nurturing animals warms my heart. There is a connection that is divine , that goes beyond the visible in this place. Passing down a bit of history, an honest day's sweaty work and a love of God and his creations binds us together. We are in the process of building our new barn. The outside is new and shiny. Putting inside the old parts of our barn is cathartic. When we bought our first farm, where this barn used to be, the previous owner would come by and watch us renovate her home. Tears appeared and we worried about her. She obviously loved the farm and all the memories stored there. No longer knowing where she is or even if she walks this earth anymore, I know her family, who originally built the barn, has touched these boards we put in our brand new barn. If I listen quietly enough, the laughter, neighs and hope whisper.