Barn Memories

America is a different place than it was. Even where my father grew up is under water. Like it never existed, now a reservoir.

Minnesota Prairie Roots

MY FONDNESS FOR BARNS, for photographing them, never wanes.

When I fit my eye to the viewfinder, swing my camera lens toward a barn and click, it’s as if I’m clicking my heels together and flying into my past.

I am trudging down the barn aisle, leaning into the wheelbarrow heaped with ground corn. I am scooping that feed by the shovelful to top silage pitched from the silo and parceled before the Holsteins’ empty stanchions.

Later, as milk pulsates into milking machines and Dad has poured the milk into a tall thin pail, I am lugging the precious liquid to the milkhouse, handle biting into my chore-gloved hand.

Memories come into focus—the golden booming radio voices from ‘CCO, the slap of a cow’s tail, hot urine splattering into gutters, cats swarming around a battered hubcap, the stench of manure, taut twine snapped with my yellow jackknife and prickly alfalfa…

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