There it stood tall and gray, covered with cracked barn wood. It touched the sky. I had never seen anything like it or more wonderful. A huge door stretched high. My big brother Jon, pulled the door open and swung it wide. We crept inside and explored. There was a roomy place, for what we didn’t know. I immediately pictured a horse or pony for me in that spot. It was dusty, still and filled with possibility. I wondered what had lived there.
A fenced-in chicken coop with wooden nesting boxes, now empty and silent, completed the back of this barn. Beside it was an open shelter with an ancient metal bowl. We decided it gave water to a cow. It stood empty, full of dust and rust. A large sturdy manger completed the space. It was so tall that my three-year-old self could barely peek over it. I imagined it filled to the brim with fragrant hay to feed the long-gone bovine. A slanted ramp made entry possible for this cow.
My brother looked above us, was that a hay loft? Could we access it? I certainly couldn’t, I was too small. My brother, quick and lithe, scrambled up there. I looked longingly after but couldn’t follow. Ever industrious he scooted down, found a hammer, nails and some old boards. He pounded in the boards, standing on the lowest to complete the upper and wow, ACCESS!
Oh the joy of such a space. Nine years later, my father would build a board fence corral, to house a horse I cared for while her owner attended college. He cut that huge barn door in half and made a split door so I could open the top and keep a horse inside, although she preferred to stay outside. Four years later my father enlarged the corral with posts and wire for the horse I had so longed for. My very own precious gelding, a high school graduation gift that I found and requested, instead of a car. But that is a story for another time.
As I think of this story from so long ago, I also think of my brother. He, always so strong and sure nearly succumbed to Covid a few weeks ago. He is much better now and on the mend. When I think of how close we came to the unimaginable pain of loss, I think of the pain of those who did lose loved ones. My heart bleeds for them. We hope and pray and carry on as best we can. We find joy in family, friends, and creating beauty where we can. And we look for better days.