Saturday, April 4, 2015

Matters of Perspective

We've lived on our farm now since the Summer of 2004.  And, anytime you become familiar with a place there is a tendency to miss certain perspectives that might be seen by those who visit.  Or, in this case, sometimes a camera can encourage you to see things in a different way.  We are blessed to have the opportunity to use a decent digital camera on our farm and we now have a pretty good bank of pictures to view when we wish.  We are also graced with the presence of others on our farm throughout the year.  And, we do listen to what you all say to us about our farm.  We learn from your perspectives and what you are seeing.  Sometimes, it opens our eyes to something new.  Other times, it re opens our eyes to see things again as we once did, before we let ourselves become jaded.  Or, if it is not a case of being jaded, it might be as much a case of being lazy.  If you live in a place, you don't always stop and really look.
Looking out from the old barn
Our old barn didn't start out as a favorite place on our farm.  In fact, it was a bit intimidating.  Part of the intimidation factor was the sheer size of the place.   The other part was the amount of repair that was going to be necessary if we wanted to continue to have it as a part of our farm.  It was a place of raccoons, rotting hay and unmarked jars with unknown liquids.  But, over time, we began seeing other views of this building.  For example, it was remarkably cool on a hot summer day.  No wonder many of the chickens would choose to come in here in July.

If you were in a part of the barn that we had cleaned out the old hay/straw then it wasn't as oppressive as other parts of the barn.  In fact, you could begin to understand why the barn was a place where children might play. 

But, this is where the perspective of the owner versus the perspective of a visitor often parts.  People would come to the farm and instantly be attracted by the old barn.  It was interesting.  It is rustic.  A joy to walk around and take in the natural beauty of aged wood and old white oak beams put together by wooden pegs.  Oh look!  There is an old hay fork!  That rope is as thick as my twelve year old's arm!  Neat.

But, what did I often see when I walked into the building?  Another broken glass pane from the windows we just can't seem to find time to fix or take out.  We'd better clean that up.  That corner over there has shifted some more, I'm not sure we can keep using this building much longer.  We'd better patch that hole or the raccoons will get to the chickens.

The good news?  When reminded, I could (and still do) stop and view the building from the perspective of a person who just sees it as a neat thing worthy of being.  And, I'm sure that if I really needed to, I could share some of the daily thoughts I have with others - just as I am doing now.  In my opinion, it's healthy as long as I let myself see both perspectives and don't let one completely obscure the other.

If you frame a picture just right, you can make it look like our farm is much more isolated than it really is.  In fact, the picture above makes it seem as if our house and the surrounding trees just sprang out of the prairie, with nothing else around for miles.  You can't really see the road if you don't know it is there.  It is too early to see the corn field in the background and it feels like you are much further from the house than you actually are for some reason.

It is a reminder to me that our farm is both bigger and smaller than you think.  There is plenty of room for us to do all kinds of good things at our farm.  There are places where, believe it or not, Tammy and I rarely go, though there aren't many of those.  And, there are many places where we walk frequently, but we often do not take note of a different viewpoint as we walk them.  So, every once in a while, I drag the camera along and try to take note of places on the farm where I can look in a different direction than I usually do, just to see what things look like from that perspective.

On a recent sunny day, I actually walked around our farm.  And, I mean I literally walked AROUND it.  I started on the road and walked to our Southwest border, then I walked the West line.  It was actually an odd experience.  We normally only see our farm from the outside perspective when we are on the road.  It is not often that we will view it from the North (for example).  It's simply amazing some of the ideas that can be jump started by a different viewpoint.

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