Little leaf, all alone.
You’re color bold against the stone.
I’ve no idea how it came to be,
That you should land right in front of me.
I almost passed without a care,
Thinking people might wonder if I stop and stare.
But something in your brazen stance,
Draws me in for another glance.
I can see your spots and ugly stains,
Your bruises and your dried up veins.
But these only add to the beauty there,
With each new glance I’m less aware.
Of the blemishes that mare your face,
Instead I see a lovely grace.
If you look past the flaws and the barren ground,
Peace and splendor and can still be found.
So one of my favorite fall activities is taking a drive. Ever since I was young I have enjoyed taking in the scenery but fall brings something special to the landscape. The cooler air, the golden fields and the vibrant leaves make a ride down country roads like a sweet escape.
With the holidays approaching I’m find myself looking back on the last few months and also ahead to the new year. With the windows down there’s no better way to just let go of what has been or what will be and just enjoy the moment right in front of you.
So get out there. Explore. Share your favorite places to go this fall. Before we know it, the snow will be flying and this year will be in the past. Enjoy the present now, while it’s here.
I love barns. I love photography even more. Put me in an old barn with my camera and I’m like a child at Christmas. One of the beautiful things about photography is that you need to pay close attention to details. One of the beautiful things about barns is that there are so many details to pay attention to.
So how does this fit into my favorite things of fall? For me, for this year’s barn tour, this might be my favorite little detail and to think, I nearly missed it altogether. I was touring the Dobbin round barn. The same barn that I shared in yesterdays post. The barn I almost did not see because it had been a long day of walking and climbing around and I knew it was time to head home. As I was approaching the on ramp to the interstate that would take me home I knew I would be driving past the gravel road that would take me to the barn this barn. The barn I really wanted to see. The round barn! I could see the road sign approaching. Glancing at my radio clock one more time I promised I would just make it a quick stop. I would get a couple pictures take a quick look inside and then be back on the road within 15 minutes.
I knew the minute I arrived I had made the right choice. I was greeted warmly by the owners and some extended family and then given a quick history of the family and the barn. Once I signed the guest book I was left to explore on my own and found that I was in no hurry at all anymore. An enormous brick silo in the center was only out done by the rafters whose intricacy looked like art. A wide cement path wrapped around the silo bordered by railing then another wide path of what I thought it were brick pavers and yet a third path of cement skirting around the outer edge of the barn. I made a quick walk of the inner path, my attention directed mostly at the large, almost square bricks of the silo. On my second trip around the inner loop I was trying to get a picture of some stalls that seemed to be hanging over the center path. Since the windows of the barn were located behind a partial wall the lighting was not ideal and my flash seemed to remove the ambiance completely. Hoping to make use of small light bulb above one of the stalls, I decided to brave the dirty brick floor and climbed under the railing for a better angle. Brushing the floor briefly with my hand, I realized that this was not brick at all but pieces of wood. Hundreds, maybe thousands of these rectangular cuttings laid out in a circular path around the barn, interrupted here and there by portions of cement and metal posts.
I wonder about the person or people who cut those pieces of wood. Was this the intended purpose of the wood or were these people simply trying to be good stewards or their resources. Maybe, and probably more realistically, this was a conscience decision by those involved because this material would be still be durable but also easier on the animals that would be standing there for unknown amounts of time. I had wanted to ask for sure but the owners were caught up in a discussion about some future restoration projects that needed to be done to the rafters and upper walls. My attention once again was drawn to the towering silo and rafters but for only for a moment.
Please forgive this post for being late…between an early schedule and our stellar satellite service (NOT!), try as I might I was not able to get this to load yesterday, due to severe storms in the area. However, I do take responsibility and will be more diligent about watching the weather and having something ready in case of impending winds, rain, slight breezes, light sprinkles or the possibility that an errant leaf might disrupt or distract said satellite.
Now for the good stuff! My love of barns is not something that I only foster in the fall so don’t let the picture lead you astray. I’m always on the lookout for these amazing legends of our past. Over the years I’ve seen too many that are simply neglected and sadly in need of some serious tlc. Unfortunately I’ve seen even more that are in differing states of deterioration, sagging and leaning here and there and eventually giving up altogether and collapsing into a pile of rubble and rot.
Last year I happened across a barn tour and spent the better part of a day walking in and out and around several different barns; learning about their history and the families who have cherished them. During that first tour I learned about the Iowa Barn Foundation and how they, through their team of volunteers, help qualified barn owners receive matching grants to restore these pieces of our past. For those who are able to do the restoration on their own they offer Awards of Distinction. They even have volunteers who create their bi-annual publication, offer legal and financial advice as well as administrative services.
In an effort to educate people about the history and importance of rural life, they bring people together through varying events and meetings. In the fall they hold their annual barn tour that allows us to witness these beautiful relics up close. Some of the barns are listed on the National Register but they all offer a glimpse into a rich past. I love the feeling of stepping back in time and imagining the people who built them and used them. Many of the current owners have had these barns in their families for generations and their enthusiasm and emotion is contagious as they talk about their late great-grandparents or uncles and aunts and reminisce about stories from childhood. Many have some wonderful photos of not only before and afters of the barns restoration but the people who originally built them and in one case the different horses and a pony who were stalled there.
It’s a humbling experience to stand inside these rough, sturdy built structures and in a sense, be surrounded by the generations that knew first hand what it meant to work hard and provide for themselves and their families solely through the land and what their efforts brought from it.
I can find inspiration in unexpected places. Hardware stores being one of my favorites. However, I also take advantage of the obvious creative haunts. Arts and crafts stores, vintage stores, city streets and alleys. In Des Moines one of my favorite places to just wander around, both inside and out, is the Art Center but I’m not really drawn to the artwork on display. I get excited about the angles of the building, the way the sun leaves shadows across the modern staircase and floor in the Meier addition. While all of that engages and inspires me what really draws me in is the rose garden and park behind the center. It’s always a wonder to me that I’m in the middle of a metropolis but can get so lost and caught up peace of the park and trails.
This picture comes from the courtyard of the art center. I’m always surprised by the tranquility of it and I love that even when it is crowded with attendees it somehow commands peace. The pool itself is the center piece and a work of art in its own right and I since I adore fall I loved how the leaves were pooling up in the corners. Where do you find your favorite fall inspiration?
Today, at precisely 9:21am, fall begins. So does my Fall…Oh…Me challenge. The goal: 90 Days of Fall posts. Everything from my favorite fall things to my favorite fall places.
I love this time of year! Apples, pumpkins, sweaters and boots, and don’t forget the colors! Want to join me? Try you’re own fall challenge and share pics of your favorite fall things on Facebook. Tag me in your post and once a week I’ll share my favorites right here!
Get up! Get out! Enjoy this wonderful season and have some fun!!
As summer eases into what I hope is a long and beautiful fall, in my mind I’m already looking ahead to next year. No, I’m not trying to wish away the coming days of winter, instead, it is my goal to embrace the upcoming holiday season and enjoy even the harsher cold days that I usually dread. With an overwhelming list of to-do’s I’m actually looking forward to an excuse to spend a few weekends holdup indoors. With hundreds of photos to organize and grand plans to catch up on my reading and sadly neglected scrapbooks, as well as some minor home improvement projects, I don’t see there being too much time to lament the bitter cold.
My interest in the coming year lies solely in my ever-growing passion for my craft. This year has been such an amazing journey of growth for me. I’ve learned more about photography and discovered my own unique view of the world that I live in. I’m learning that I don’t have to listen to the broken record of negativity in my own head. I am good enough. I don’t have to be the best, I just need to do MY best.
I’m excited about the future of my photography and I’m enjoying the freedom that I finally feel in letting my creative self loose. Taking the step to begin this blog has played a large roll in this adventure and I look forward to continuing to expand outside my comfort zone and finding new ways to share and express what I see.