Yesterday I meditated a minute on bygone barns. Ancient farm buildings. Tempered by time, tempted by gravity, and sowbacked beneath the burdens of generations, these rugged utility structures retain (and sometimes gain) a minimalist elegance long after design and construction and use fade into history. My meditation was meandering and inconclusive. In part this was due to the wandering wonder these timeworn buildings inspire in me. And in part it was because my observations are still evolving and inconclusive. I’m not a barn expert, an agricultural architecture preservationist, or even a particularly astute student of barns and farms. But I am a barnophile.
Barn·o·phile /bärnəˌfīl/ noun (from Greek philos ‘loving’)
- a connoisseur of farm buildings
- a person with a fondness for structures used to house livestock, grain, etc.
- an admirer and/or collector of agricultural outbuildings
Aside from the hubris I’ve just exercised in birthing this barnophile definition, I’m generally inclined to a humbler and less presumptuous relationship with the mostly agrarian artifacts we categorize as barns.
[As an unabashed barnophile with a] weakness for wabi-sabi, I’m especially keen on bygone barns.
By “bygone barns” I’m conjuring an entire class of rural farm and utility buildings belonging to an earlier time. Classic lines, practical design, form following function, wearing age and even obsolescence with pride,… I’m even smitten with buildings so dilapidated that they’ve been reduced to their skeletal essence by the