This abandoned building is barely visible from the road. It is the epitome of abandonment. Details on the chimney stack echo hopes and dreams of the past. The roof, now underfoot or partly upheld by those few walls still erect. Lending themselves as anchors for climbing ivy, these walls are in the process of reintegration as the land reclaims all.
Capitalizing birds nest in the vegetation, one of which, stunned into an indecisive moment by the presence of a visitor, could not decide whether to hide, run or fly. The road nearby is a busy one, and the noise of passing cars unabated. Yet the intriguing interior of this place is rarely seen. The stylized walls betray the existence of a probable second life, much different from the first.
The well on the grounds, now half filled with passing debris and barbwire is no longer a source, but a trap. With the failure of the dream, nature’s long process of reclamation and assimilation is in progress. In decades to come, when we have all passed on, this place will become indistinguishable unrecognizable and inseparable but will continue to live.
There is ghostly remains of life in this place. It pours in through the windows and doorway, bringing in more and more of external life each day. Yet the early morning frost on the overgrown shrubs and grasses stays outside.
Prickly bushes endeavor to keep out all prying eyes in case a fancy will take away their prize. Once overcome and the threshold crossed, it is a warm and welcoming place; shabby but honest. Well used to being aroused before the upping sun, it exudes an air of manual labour with long days and short nights. Yet despite the harshness, it is gratifying work and the gentleness of the welcome at the end of the day refreshes and prepares for the next.
Nature appears to invade this place at a slow pace, gently knocking at its door. There is no aggression or forcing of the walls, but rather the degeneration of itself as time erodes its foundations and it succumbs to the nature of all things.
Particularly devoid of light this little place, but it peers in through every crevice, admitting the yellow of the sun and the green of the foliage.
It has nothing to hide but it is hidden. If you find this place, you are drawn to it and obliged to have a look inside. There is a fireplace that, as always, brings life to the place. As for the soul it is a dark one. Not sinister, but in luminescence. It is not insecurity that forces shelter in the darkness, but an informed choice having known other places.
At first there is no immediate appeal, no instant gratification. There is no boasting or attempts to attract attention. But once left it is not forgotten and comes back in reflection; an after taste, a deferred gratification. It is difficult to read and hides in places only accessible to itself. It reveals not all that it is and was, and thus remains unresolved.
To come to this, one would have to start in a lowly place and aim even lower. It is stagnation of being, which in time turns into a spiral of neglect and eviscerates the soul.
Life has left this place, never to return. There remains no trace of tenderness if it ever did exist. The remaining skeleton stands proud of the ground, overseeing the far away land which will be out of site before long. The remains of the main house no longer possesses such luxuries as a chimney stack and nature has ravaged all but the foundations. It is a neglect of self which echoes through the turning wind.
The outbuildings, the barn for the pigs and the baking hut which served their feed, have weathered better as a testament of the importance of the animals to man and nature.
Feeble attempts at reinforcing the outer shell of the house attest to the meager efforts made in a last minute salvage before total withdrawal and desertion. There can be no resolution, no forgiveness, no forgetting, no phoenixian rebirth to cleanse the spirit that lingers here.
This is a fertile house, a place for nesting, a beginning. A starting point where the dreams and aspirations have been locked in the past, lying on a nearby shelf entangled in the weaved web, gathering dust until they are not only forgotten but also disintegrated.
Withered and unhinged by the forces of nature, a window in one room continues to welcome nesting birds. Their fleeting visits and departures are foreseen. There is life and fertility in this place which is not surrendered after the departure, but merely profited on by the animals. They will not desert it but will eventually leave as is the nature of these things.
In the other room there is no light. Windows and doors still intact, are firmly shut under lock and key, forbidding all entry. The black soot marks the kitchen fire, where the oven that baked the daily bread, is condemned to a life without flame.
The redundant single bed would have been sufficient and in keeping with the intimacy that the small size of the place demands. But to no avail. And having been deceived, the doors remain forever closed and barricaded by thick branches which deem it impossible to open.
Next to the fields of glowing corn, with a commanding view of the village below, lies this beaten house. It is broken in two, the divided column bursting through the rotting skin with shattered splinters spread all around.
The entrance remains forever open to all who wish to enter or leave. A state of complete indifference. Numb and senseless. Nature has taken advantage of this insensibility and invades this house aggressively, forcing the doors and windows.
It was not always this way. The redundant metal bars on the windows, served to plant reservations in the mind of all those who approached, friend or foe. In the same manner, they served to reinforce the self imposed imprisonment and paranoid fancies of those within. Bonds, if not formed, can not be broken to leave wounds too painful to bear. Prevention better than cure. But it is this same fear that has now broken this house. It is beaten.
A mind lost, as a result of the forces of despair so strong that all bend and sag under the burden of its strain. Eventually to give, and willingly so, welcoming the release and rejoining the bredrins. Such is the folly of such things; or is it?
The world turned upside down and all jumbled and incomprehensible. There is no sense in anything. The outside is inside and the inside that was, has long since left, leaving a void. The last feeble connections to one reality seemingly lost and another world embarked upon.
The eye of nature, all seeing and knowing, overseas the transformation. Gliding, carried by the winds of nature, swaying to-and-throw with no apparent aim. Uncontrolled, unforced, random manoeuvrers that head towards an unknown paradise to come. Before long all will be one again.
The transformation is almost complete. The floors above no more than a faint memory having rejoined the earth. The solid walls made of local rock, are still upstanding but the facade is being rapidly covered by the march of nature.
The calm exterior is not matched inside. There is horror within. The wind circles the four walls of the house like a caged animal. The oval mouth emits the scream that shatters the false silence and rattles all in its path. Sounds emitted from the past; those memories; parts that can never be erased. That flash of a moment. It comes back with resilient persistence to disrupt the apparent serenity. It is a black beacon in an all white world which draws irresistibly. It will not let go and will not be laid to rest.
To forget is to give in, and thus totally surrender to the blowing wind.
Come to me my fallen one, Come to me, you led astray
my moss covered stone, my part of whole
my air, water and sun. my perceived betray
Come to me my lost child, Come to me my golden ray
my flesh and blood, my source of life
my own lost in the wild my strife at end on this day
Come to me the child I bore, Come to me my fallen son
my sea of rock, my light and dark
my flowing water upon my shore my rising ash to be as one
Come to me my shining light, Come to me by the twisting trees
my comfort and joy, my wait at end
my end to sullen days of night. my spirit freed
Here is a farmhouse which had fallen down. It now comprises of two parts. One which is completely taken over by nature and has lived its life, and the other which still remains true to its purpose. Though no longer habitable, the latter half contains materials of everyday life, slowly degenerating under the protection of the porous roof. Here lie the rusted bicycles, frozen in time and redundant, their only purpose is as blurred traces of a distant past filled with innocence of youth and hope of betterment. In the other half, the roof has completely collapsed with the heart of the house having succumbed to the inevitability of its demise.
Having shattered the glass in the doors and windows, they roam freely throughout this place systematically reducing all to the dust, from whence they came.
Yet behind the closed shutters lies the hope and aspirations of the past entrusted to the future. The future resting precariously, not in the hands of those who know but in the hands of those that have yet to know. It does not pass by the word of mouth. Life is not an apprenticeship. Only by living is a working knowledge of it found. The future lays in the ghost of a promise as yet unfulfilled.
From the outside, it is a curious site. One half wrapped in climbing ivy, the other partly fallen down and uncovered, but stubbornly hanging on against the onslaught. In the middle of a field of recently cut corn, why has the farmer not flatten this stubborn building and farmed the land thus released?
The entrance is not by the front door but by a hole. A hole where the heart was, a hole large enough to squeeze through, a tremendous wound has been inflicted on this house. A fatal blow to bring about a swift end to the struggle.
Within, there is a sinking feeling, much like a ship taking on water; but it is not the level of water that is rising but the deluge of material which have fallen to the ground. Sinking in its own entrails, with a corresponding descent of the house to meet it. A process with a certain inevitability that is evident to all who cast an eye in its direction. These forces are stronger than mere flesh and bones, bolts and screws. Even the most impenetrable and strong come crumbling down under the constant gnawing. Their acceptance, the goal of the fatal blow, eases the pain.
The struggle is of mind over mater and mater will always prevail and force the mind to change.
End of the line
At the end of this lane there is an insurmountable gate. By this gate lies the abandoned house at the end of the line. Within, despondent heads forced into the corner, shed wasted tears that do nothing more than feed the growing weeds below.
In the main room there is no floor, no reassuring support for the weight carried. The walls themselves, no longer supporting anything of great substance, are irrelevant, bleeding back into the earth.
All things return to dust but at their own pace. This relativity is however difficult to perceive, but once realised one finds oneself at this last stop. Nowhere else to go, it is the end of the line.