There was absolutely nothing square or horizontal on the entire building. Some ancient boards were sagging to the left, some were sagging to the right and the old doors and windows seemed ready to fall out of their frames completely.
I didn’t care. I thought it was charming. And I totally disregarded my husband’s idea of throwing some gasoline and a match on it.
For doors that seemed so rickety, they were certainly stuck tight. I pulled and tugged and pulled and tugged and finally collapsed onto the ground when the grimy door hinges pulled away from the rotting wood.
I took a few hesitant steps forward and stopped.
I was enchanted.
Ragged holes in the ceiling allowed beams of light to illuminate the space. Disturbed by the commotion of my dramatic entry, dust motes swirled and glittered through the air.
I sniffed. The space smelled of old, wet hay and damp wood.
The structure was clad in old hand-planed boards. The width of the boards spoke clearly of the age of the building…most were over two feet wide.
Rusted metal relics gleamed in the dust filled air.
A tractor wheel, a beat up old wheelbarrow, some old buckets and pails, an anonymous farm implement almost reduced to a mound of textured red iron oxide.
I tread warily across the floor to a large opening that led to a slant-ceilinged section of the dilapidated building. Large, leathery looking leaves hung on the walls. It took some long moments before I was able to puzzle out that they were tobacco leaves…harvested and forgotten many, many years ago.
In the corner of that section of the barn were three metal buckets. I noticed they were filled with straw but paid little attention to their contents.
Oh my friends, I explored that old barn until my heart was content. More than a few interesting artifacts got dragged up to decorate flower beds or a random window sill.
Because we were busy getting settled, it wasn’t until the following spring that I decided to actually clean the old barn out.
My husband heaved all the windows and doors open and let the fresh spring air breeze through the musty space.
I hauled load after load out to a burn pile, saving particularly beautiful pieces of wood and interesting looking snippets of random metal.
Toward the end of the long, dirty exhausting afternoon I attempted to haul the rusted metal buckets outside as well. Their bottoms collapsed as soon as I tried to pick them up, leaving a spill of gnarled roots tangled in straw on the dirt floor of the barn.
I stood puzzled for a moment until I realized they were iris rhizomes. Many were powdery and dried out, but some were still plump and filled with life.
Gaining a burst of energy in my enthusiasm, I sorted and culled and filled the wheelbarrow with the most hopeful of the roots.
The next day, I excitedly worked up an overgrown perennial bed beside an old shed, forking in wheelbarrow loads of old composted manure I had also rescued from inside the barn.
The rhizomes were planted carefully in their new home and forgotten in the rush of all the chores associated with spring on an old farm.
Until one glorious afternoon when I had a few moments to spare.
I walked to the shed under the huge canopy of the century old buckeye tree and stopped in astonishment.
Not only had the iris rhizomes survived, they were starting to bloom!
I was amazed that something forgotten inside a dark rotting bucket had survived years and years of neglect.
The iris continued to beguile me over the next several weeks…unfurling petals of a particularly charming shade of purple one day and a buttery golden glow the next.
Even now on dark and dreary days of the heart, I remember those iris rhizomes…forgotten, neglected and almost discarded.
How amazing it is to remember the message they taught me.
How reassuring to recall that even when all feels lost, there is still the possibility of possibilities waiting to emerge.
This post is linked to Alphabe-Thursday in honor of the letter B. To read other B posts, just click here.