Friday 3.21.14

There is a big old barn/garage/shed building on the property of one of our neighbor’s. It is not the huge old barn you see in the country. This is the kind of building that you used to see within the boundaries of a small town, and a few still exist. I suppose that this was once a carriage house type of building and that there may have been horses in or around the area at one time in the past. Now, it is in quite a poor state and I imagine that within a few years will be taken down – or fall down.

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I have no idea how old this building is or who built it. There seems to be a story in there somewhere. The workmanship in it is quite interesting with the diagonal windows, the diagonal trim on the doors. I think that none of this building came from any kind of pre-fab, do it yourself store. Whoever built this took pride in creating not only a building that would serve a purpose but would also be an aesthetic part of the neighborhood. Perhaps the people who had it built were people with enough money to build something more than a simple shed.

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I wonder things like where that lumber came from, who painted it, what was ever housed inside of it? Did anything great ever happen inside of that building? Perhaps there was a party or someone built something as a surprise to someone else. Perhaps it was filled with wonderful curiosities and there were neighbor kids who would sneak in there to explore. Perhaps someone died in there or this was the place where someone lost their virginity. Before long, it will be gone forever.

I also wonder if some of the things I do or have done will outlive me and be part of something good for someone. Last summer I built a bunch of tables out of old wood that I had in the shop. Each of the 3 tables came from something that at one time was not a table at all. For example, one was built out of some old signs I had removed several years ago. The signs came from a local bar. The owner of the bar has purchased the table from me. He told me that the signs were originally painted by someone who had just been released from prison. Evidently, this bar owner was giving this ex-con some work to do. So, now there’s another story… who was this convict and what did he do to make him a convict?

One table was built from an old Ikea chair. Nothing really special about it. The other was made from planks and boards that were removed from our house over the years. They once were cabinets and shelves and things like that. You wonder what these might have looked like just after someone had built them for their original purpose.

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Now, these old boards have been cut and reshaped into a coffee table. So far, it has been used as a foot stool, for serving food, for sitting on by smaller kids who wanted to be closer to the television and for playing checkers. Perhaps one day it will belong to one of my kids or their kids and it will hold some memory of something good.

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In my ongoing attempt to become a shitty violin player, I came across a poem written by John Sheahan and adapted to song by Charlie McGettigan. It talks about how a violin comes from somewhere and had a history of many other things and times long before it became a violin. I think this is the case with many of the things we overlook every day.

Forest Echoes : John Sheahan

I sense a forest in my fiddle, belly and back of spruce and maple

Silver sounds from silver strings

Summer breeze to leafy glade, I smell the wood from which it’s made

I feel it tremble as it sings

I sense the axe and all its terror, slow motion fall of mighty timber

Forest echoes as it reels

It hits the ground – a mighty thump, phantom pain of a tree stump

Is it like the pain a human feels?

Feel it tremble, feel it sing, from the sylvan sores it brings

Tunes of ages – gentle songs, from a seedling in the ground

Lasted through so many years, saw the laughter, felt the tears

So many years…

I draw my bow, a white-tailed horse

To fertile ground he sets a course

To somewhere I have never been

Goes galloping back where time has flown to find where seeds of sound were sewn

Forests lush with leaves of green

I rest my bow, the reins fall slack, leaf and branch, I lure them back

Notes still echo in the air

My tunes have stalled within a riddle; I sense a forest in my fiddle

Every note has come from there

Feel it tremble, feel it sing, from the sylvan sores it brings

Tunes of ages – gentle songs, from a seedling in the ground

Lasted through so many years, saw the laughter, felt the tears

So many years…

 

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