Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Up and under

The Loft

Up a narrow stair, flat and steeply pitched against a loft above goat stalls below, the dusty floor opens broadly. The empty space, scattered now with just the few remaining bits of clean straw left from winter’s stacked bales, glowing warmly--the barn board walls, ages old and built around heavy beams of hand hewn oak, lit softly by the first morning rays.




Through one of the pair of small, east-facing windows looking out over the pasture, I have watched a Phoebe perch on the sill above, then, seconds later, disappear into the dimly lit interior. This expansive old barn, no longer housing the dairy cows it was raised to shelter a hundred years ago, but a collection of tractors, plows, mowing decks, garden tools, items to be recycled—and, apparently, one phoebe nest.


I wait and watch quietly, eyes struggling between the bright spikes of light and the shadow just beyond their reach, and see her fly from her silhouetted form, across the loft to the highest point within the gambrel roof. Beside the round vent, 30 feet above the barn floor, she has built her nest—held steady on the old track where pulleys ran back and forth, lifting to the lofts, heavy hay.


Safe, it would seem from most anything.
Up and under.


The Old Barn

Phoebe in the East Window

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24 comments:

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Wow The Wooden Work Is Really Great..Especially Last Photo Is Good Captured !! Thanks For Sharing..I have statred a new website And Would Like You To Check It .Unseen Rajasthan
for travels and tours.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Old barns are wonderful—inside and out, for birds, critters, and bloggers with a fine photographic eye and matching prose skills.

As always, simply terrific!

bobbie said...

What a marvelous space this is! Your photos are wonderful.

Michelle Johnson said...

Old barns share a certain kind of character don't they? You've documented this barn well with your words and photos. Have a great day.

Susan Gets Native said...

Reminds me of JZ's painting of the phoebe in the shed, with a ray of sun illuminating an old copper pail...
I love your barn.

Deborah Godin said...

This was an especially poetic series, brought to mind Robert Frost, and Andrew Wyeth...enjoyed this very much!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

These old barns do seem to call a person in. They look like they are lonesome.

Ellen said...

This barn reminds me of the barn that I used to explore on our farm when I was growing up. Expansive and dark, it never left me wanting for adventure. I spent many a lazy summer afternoon laying amongst the hay bales in the upper levels. Thanks for the memories!

mitt vattenhål said...

what nice woodwork!
Beautifully captured

/Christina - Sweden

Grace and Bradley said...

I love how you observe the nature and your surrounding. An old barn, at the end of its useful life, provides a safe heaven for a phoebe family.

James said...

That is really beautiful. You are truly gifted.

Babooshka said...

I always find barns haunting. I know to many horror films. Unique way to show the U.

Heather said...

You took my breath away with these photos, Nina. I love how you captured the light streaking into that barn. The second picture is my favorite.
In examining the photo of where the wall meets the roof, I see the nest, but what is to the right of the nest, just below the opening in the roof? I hope that's not a snake I see..

Mary said...

Nina, that looks like the barn window in Julie's lovely Phoebe painting! Do you remember it? I have a copy and love it.

Sweet Phoebe. I envy your barn and everything that lives with you.

Mary

Carolina said...

Wonderful set of photos. I especially love the second one.

jay said...

Those old barns have such a sense of peace and beauty, don't they? I'm glad the phoebe found a safe place to nest inside!

Lovely photos. I particularly like the contrast between shade and dusty sunlight. :)

Roger Owen Green said...

old barns are always fascinating. great photos.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Heather--the nest is visible in pictures #1 & #6, if you enlarge them. And if you're seeing a mossy lump, right at the peak of the roof ridge, you've spotted it! (that other strangely shaped figure under the roof vent is an old pulley, hanging from the track. (the nest is actually sitting on the metal track, too.
Good eyes for seeing all that!!!!

Snakes and raccoons have plagued her nest-building for several years--but I think she may have found the solution--I hope this is even too far out of reach for a snake!

Rose said...

Nina, another wonderful, artistic post! The photos of the old barn would be enough, but to add Phoebe in there it becomes a story as well. I do love old barns. Our local county extension published a pictorial index of all the barns in the county a few years ago, and my mother was involved in taking photos for it. To some it may have seemed a strange undertaking, but so many of the old barns are on their way to being demolished.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

This old barn, for as empty as it may at first appear, is overflowing with texture, perspective, and shadow!
And, for a stationary object, is surprisingly difficult to photograph--with HUGE spaces and sharply contrasting light!

I could spend many hours fussing here with a camera--
(It looks even more wonderful in person)

Sherrie said...

Hi!
That's an awesome barn! Great "U" post! Have a great day!

Sherrie
http://sherrie-plummer.blogspot.com/2009/06/abc-wednesday.html

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Masterpiece, such a beautiful building. Great choice for U!

Greetings from Tyra in THE GREENHOUSE

Q said...

Dear Nina,
"Up and under" is perfect for U!
Taking the story of Phoebe and her nest and working u in is so creative...
Thank you for another remarkable ABC Wednesday!
Sherry

Julie Zickefoose said...

That stately old lady barn is so lucky to have you and A. as its caretakers. Your images make me drool to paint the scenes within it. Nothing like sun hitting hay in the cavernous sepia darkness. Kudos for an elegant and heartwrenchingly beautiful post. I see you making an album of barn interiors...
Do let us know how Miss Phoebe fares. She's obviously trying to beat the predators with altitude, God bless her. Ours is nearing hatch on a tiny shelf we put up just for her.

Your agent and biggest fan,

JZ