The Upper Hand to Mother Nature
This huge old barn on the outskirts of Elkins, south of Fayetteville on Arkansas Highway 16, is losing out to Mother Nature. It has deteriorated significantly since I first photographed if a few years ago.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Pine Buff, Arkansas
Leaving Fayetteville, Arkansas, on a late spring Saturday afternoon, I made up a trip that would take me to Huntsville on Highway 74. I changed the route on the way and it yielded a photo bonus. I had originally intended to take Arkansas Highway 74 to Huntsville, but instead continued on 16 to 23 and then north to Huntsville. I do believe that the Higher Power blinded me to the 74 turn-off and sent me off on the long way. I would hook up with 74 after leaving Huntsville, an equally good move.
The Cattle Are Grazing
South of Huntsville on Highway 23, I spotted this gaggle of cattle grazing in a small pasture bounded by two highways meeting in a junction, a little patch of woods, and a small stream. The cattle, for the most part, were in good light and were framed by darkness in the woods, a set of lighting conditions I found hard to resist, despite some traffic hazards inherent in my parking place to get the shot. A few of the cattle spotted me during the process. The rest were blissfully unaware that their sanctity was being recorded.
On the way, I ran across some neat cows, a 1941 Dodge panel truck in the front yard of a cabin, and an old barn losing its battle with gravity. You’ll see the cows and barn here and will need to look at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind to see the old panel truck.
Not far from the cows, this barn, sans a big chunk of its south wall, is fighting a losing battle with the elements of Mother Nature and her kissing cousin, gravity. Remember it well, it ain’t for long. Nine years ago when I started photographing old barns and other country structures, there weren’t as many in the crumbling stage as I see now. We are losing these bits of our heritage on a logarithmic scale.
After a pit stop in Huntsville at the local Sonic for a number 1 with mayo and mustard, fries, and a large surgery drink, I headed back down Highway 23 to its junction with Highway 74. Good decision.
At the Hamlet of Wharton
Southwest of Huntsville on Arkansas Highway 74 lies the hamlet of Wharton. It has a bridge, some scattered residences, an old restored building, a collapsing building, a lot of loudly mooing cows, and this fine barn. As I stopped on the shoulder of the highway to capture the image, I saw a motorcyclist slowing down. As he approached me, I rolled the window down and we greeted each other, both of us in the ‘possum-blonde’ stage of life. He asked if I was having trouble and I allowed as how I was about to photograph the barn and thanked him for stopping. We shared a laugh and he went roaring on his way. See the restored building and collapsing building at Weekly Grist dot-com.
Through the ‘Bob-Wahr’
On the outskirts of Kingston, Arkansas, I found this large, well-preserved split-level barn. A group of locals were having a decoration day at a cemetery across from the barn and I asked to borrow space on their beside-the-highway parking area to leave the truck while I shot the barn. With tongue-in-cheek, one of the attendees said there was a ten-dollar fee — with equal tongue-in-cheek, I told him I would leave a ten-spot on the tarmac. After a mutual snicker I traipsed across the highway, scrambled up a ditch, and set the tripod up with the front leg protruding through a barb-wire fence (properly pronounced ‘bob-wahr’).
Across the highway from the barn, this ‘barnlet’ sits in a verdant pasture, sans cattle for as far as could see. It is showing some age but was recently repaired as evidenced by new supports for the overhang.
Luck, probably more like Divine Guidance, continues to steer me in the right direction on these forays into the hinterlands. Though these expeditions are occurring at less frequency in the last few years, this one proves that the karma is still alive and well. Hallelujah.
But wait, there's more —
See another great barn,
an old restored building,
the old Dodge truck,
and some unusual gate
and fence post decorations
at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.
Consider it to be the five-fold amen to the story and pictures you saw above. Click go and enjoy.