Monday, March 31, 2014

Abandoned homes

Out in the rural west we're used to seeing old tractors and other farm equipment rusting aways in fields where they first ceased to function. Almost everywhere outside of cities and suburbs people are familiar with the sight of old tireless cars resting atop cinder blocks until they slowly rust away. In rural areas the fate of large objects too heavy to remove or too difficult to repair are left as testaments to a recent past that gradually fades into the distance. But until I visited Virginia last week, where I had grown up, I never realized how often this happened to the houses there. When there's enough room there is apparently little point in tearing down an old unwanted structure when the residents pass away. Too much effort. Too much cost. A new house can be built, if anyone even wants the land, on some other part of the property. And so first the weeds grow up over it and then gradually those die off as the trees take over. Driving down the country roads with the brambled cover of mixed oak and pine on either side it's easy to simply focus on the road ahead. But in winter when the branches are bare, if you take the effort to glance aside now and then, you might notice these relics lurking a little ways off, slowly folding their memories away into the growing forest.

I've an idea that these would make some fine subjects for a few paintings.

photos taken in Lancaster County, Virginia

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