4-17-2004 - 12:29 p.m.
This Old Barn
Hawk and I took yesterday off and vowed to spend some ‘quality time together’
Usually this translates into golf, lunch and sex in the daytime which works for me. But yesterday was a pretty (if pollen-y) day so we decided to go for ‘a drive in the country’ Hawk will never be what you could call a city boy.
I double up on my Claritin.
Because gas is $1.79/gallon, we took the topless Miata instead of the gas gulping Expedition and hit the back roads of Northeast Kansas, heading west in the direction of wheatfields and sunsets.
We were zipping along just about 5 miles west of Lawrence and about a mile south of the river (the Kansas River for you non-geographers). There was a lovely flowering orchard to our right and the smell of the blossoms was incredible. I was fooling with the camera when Hawk takes off into the woods across the road like a bloodhound
I snap this pic
and follow him into the woods.
The dogwood are just beginning to open and it’s like someone is hanging their lace tablecloths on the trees to dry. Redbud is in bloom too so the woods are a riot of pink, white and spring green
‘Hey Ray’ I said, ‘Did you read about that guy down in Oklahomo that got bit by a rattlesnake while shopping at Lowes’
Ray laughs but he is not afraid of brother snake, he replies, ‘still too early in the year. ‘
I catch up with the Hawk. About 50ft off from the road is an old 2 story Kansas farmhouse and all it’s outbuildings that are in ruin. Extreme ruin, with the building comically slanting, boards falling down, roofs gone and vines overtaking the old structures.
The land is reclaiming the buildings that they once served. Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust.
It’s eerie and beautiful and just a little spooky.
Like 'Blair Witch Project' spooky, except it’s in color and we aren’t going to get lost because I can see the flags on the tower of the KU psychology building in the distance. You know that place where grad students do scarier things to Freshman in the basement than you ever saw in the 'Blair Witch Project.'
And we can still see the car and we both have cellphones
Hawk speculates that the buildings are over 150 year old because this area of Kansas was settled pre-Civil war. Not exactly ancient in terms of what we saw in Rome, but we are respectful. This was once someone’s home. People lived, loved and died here.
We poke around a little more. Hawk decides that one of the buildings was a ‘smokehouse’. I don’t know why. He asks if my tetanus shot is up to date.
It’s not an archeological dig and we don’t find anything of value, although old barn wood in itself is valuable. Something about the grain of the old growth trees. I wonder why some ambitious yuppies from our neighborhood hasn’t harvested the wood to redo their kitchen floor. It would be cheaper than that new Pergo we put down, trust me.
20 minutes later and I’m hungry and not willing to encounter a local boy who wants to re-inact the pig squealing scene from ‘Deliverance.’ Hawk mentions that there is a Dairy Queen in Lawrence. We order chicken finger baskets and share a Chocolate Extreme Blizzard. One spoon, it was so romantic.
So the moral of the story is: take the backroads and see what you can discover and keep up with the maintenance on your home. Mother Earth wants it back.
Want to see more pictures of ruins by professional photographers, look here.
Want to see more of my pictures, look in the photo album here