Old structures intrigue me. I’m not really sure why, but I suspect it’s a bit of nostalgia that causes me to pause when I come across one, and wonder about its origins or history.
This one is the original log cabin built on our Cariboo property by my father with the help of a neighbouring trapper. I know its history. It’s one room that housed my parents and me during summer holidays and hunting excursions. It still stands, although I think packrats are the only residents now.
The old water wheel on the hill overlooking Fort Steele in BC’s Kootenay country always garners a glance as we drive by. Tourists are invited to “explore tomorrow today” in the heritage townsite that dates back to the mid-1800s.
And I love this old gate, even if it no longer serves anything beyond a decorative purpose. It’s picturesque, although nobody sees it anymore. It leads to an abandoned log home accessible only via a bridge that collapsed years ago.
Then there is this old chair. At one time it served as a desk chair in my parents’ home office. Eventually it found its way into our cabin, and resided there until it was replaced and relegated to the woodshed. Someone toted it down to the lakeshore where we occasionally sat to reflect on the view. When it became unsafe, my hubby took it apart, and a portion was salvaged to be wall art.
But this … this old hay shed caught my attention for a different reason. It’s not far from Monte Creek , a small rural community in south central BC. I’ve driven past it innumerable times and am always surprised that it’s still in use. For what and why, I don’t know. Anything stored inside is destined to be just as affected by the weather as it would be outside. I’m not sure one could even call it picturesque. It’s simply old and worn out.
That roof reminds me of one of my stories – with a plot full of holes, holding together a shaky structure. I keep shoring it up because I hate to admit I’ve let it reach this stage. Thinking of abandoning the hard-won words and letting them disintegrate into the ground like so much compost fills me with melancholy. I have so much time and effort invested in the writing. But I’m disillusioned if I believe it serves any legitimate purpose.
Then again, I suppose I learned things during its construction. And maybe the printout would make a good doorstop. I know one thing for sure: it will never have heritage value!
What about your early, now-abandoned manuscripts? Did they serve a purpose? Did you learn anything from them?
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