A RED BARN
An enormity on the hill, the lonely red figure sat plump, full of noise and stench. Life. Forty-six pigs and ten cows, housed under a metal sheet roof. Once vibrant silver now pockmarked by the wounds of rust. Nature never slows its assault. A diseased crown for a faded body. The wood was once a gorgeous red, slowly, painstakingly painted by my hand. A red that disappears in each evenings sunsets as I watch from my porch. Now the earthy brown of wood has begun to peek through. My red, now more a stain than a coat for the figure. But it is as sturdy as the day I built it.
The doors stay open most of the day, letting a fresh breeze come through. A toothless mouth waiting for me to feed it more livestock. Haven’t in years though. Those fifty-six animals are my livelihood now. When we built it, it was majestic. A structure that surely made our cabin envious. Two hay lofts on either side of the main hall, with fenced in quarters below. The barn hekd a draft, yet always felt warm, no matter the season, fifty-six bodies will do that. Pigs on the right, cows on the left. Everything had their place. Tools on the far wall, shovels, hoes, axes, and pitchforks, an array of what it takes to run this place. Everything I have ever owned has a place here, you can’t run a farm if you aren’t organized.
When I wake I walk to the kitchen. I pass the empty rooms. It’s quiet. The heats on but it feels cold. I make my coffee on the stove. Rich black in a tin mug. I sit on the porch and watch the sunrise. I wait for it to get to the perfect spot. You see, between orange and yellow there is a gold and that warmth is the closest thing to glow of love.
I pull open the heavy doors, bathing the dirt floors and red walls in golden light. I am greeted by the warmth fifty-six bodies create, the stench, the noise. I close my eyes and take it in. The beauty of a barn is that you can feel your work in its life. The lives of my fifty-six. There is not a thing I own in this world that does not have a place here. But there are some things you just can’t own.