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The Thing About Barns

Painting of a barn by Art Gunther


The thing about barns is that many of us have a thing for them.
Barns are America. Well, they are also Germany, the Netherlands, the British Isles, Spain; there are varieties almost anywhere in the world. In the United States, with its Yankee, English, prairie, round, Dutch, bank, and other barns, you see the history of the nation, its decades and centuries, its progress toward manifest destiny and, most of all, the incredible diversity of the people.
They built the barns with post and beam, with native timber, rough hewn. They built the nation with the learning of their foreign forebears and the acquired spirit and shared lessons of the new world. They used Native American construction techniques as well.
Both have endured–these barns, these people. All can stand proud.
Barns are instant nostalgia. Their worn red color or nature’s coat after so much time pulling us back to simpler times, though we forget the before-dawn labor that lasted past dusk.
Today, people recycle barn post and beam, the side planks too, for houses most beautiful but perhaps way too grand for the old farmer or the dairyman.
Passing by in the passing parade that is America’s generations we the people momentarily drop the pulse rate, lower the blood pressure as we glance over at the barns that built us. We are home again, if only for a quick moment.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com or on Facebook Messenger. This column was originally published on his blog, The Column Rule.


Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.


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