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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sundays in My City: Chesapeake Tobacco Barns

I see them everywhere, and they whisper their stories.


Tobacco barns dot the landscape of my adopted hometown. Although Maryland actively encourages farmers NOT to grow tobacco, the barns remain.
 



By design, they are meant to be a bit raggedy. The gaps and holes help dry the tobacco. Like people, they are more beautiful and functional when broken.


Of course, most stand empty now, serving as places for teenage tomfoolery or childhood exploration. 



But yet, as I drive by the barns, as I do every single day, I listen, because they have stories to tell.


I listen for the gossip and banter of the workers as they labor. I admire their strong, almost assuredly brown or black hands.They whisper their hopes--that their children no longer work so hard for so little.  I whisper back, "Things are looking up. They aren't perfect, but they're better."

I listen to the stories of the old-timers, those that remember a county before the Naval base or the power plant. They remember a landscape as fresh and unblemished as an Osprey's egg, and a time when people were less in a hurry, less angry, just less. 


Every time I listen to the whispering of the barns, I am reminded that petty worries and daily stresses don't last. Greater things than this endure.


For this, I am grateful.

***
Thanks, as always to Unknown Mami for hosting Sundays in My City, a chance to see the world (electronically, anyway).
Unknown Mami

19 comments:

won said...

Love the black and whites. They just seem to really complement the barn photos.

Mama Zen said...

What a beautiful post!

AudreyO said...

Wow, I love the photos. I know nothing about tobacco processing. It's interesting that they want the barns holey and airy.

Sonya said...

Ooh wonderful,beautiful post this week! The photos are perfect and so was your description of it:)

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow. What a beautiful post. I love the pictures. And I love most of all that part you wrote where you said they are more beautiful and functional when broken. How pretty. What a lovely blog. Must go look around a bit! So nice to meet you today : )

Bethany said...

This is beautiful, how well you listen, and SEE too. Love the photos.

Corrie Howe said...

Although I'm not a tobacco user, I grieve seeing the tobacco barns go away. Especially in our area where until a few years ago, tobacco was the industry upon which area was built. It's losing a four hundred year history.

Nikia, May and da kids said...

I am going to have to check out the Unknown Mami sight. Who knew tobacco barns could give you such a peaceful feeling?? Great pictures. I like the story you tell of the barns.

I LOVE your saying "Like people, they are more beautiful and functional when broken." Mind if I use that in my book of quotes now?? By Owen and Joel's mama = )

May

Unknown Mami said...

Another wonderful post. The barns aren't the only ones that have stories to tell. You do to and I'm all ears.

Peterson Family said...

I grew in a small, rural area and I also love barns. The older and more worn the better!

Matty said...

What a unique and different approach to a tour of your area. Nice idea.

I see these tobacco barns a lot as I'm traveling the interstates. You often see the faded signs on them. Sometimes Cole Tobacco.

Thanks.

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a great reminder to stop and take in the sights and sounds of our city. This was a beautiful post with great pictures. Thanks a million. I really enjoyed it.

Have a great Christmas.
xo

Cat said...

I love these. Something about black and white in a rural setting just gives me chills.

michelle said...

I love your words in this post.

And the picts are whispering to me too

adrienzgirl said...

I'm not really sure what it is about old barns that I find so fascinating, but I really do. I am always "oooooh and awwwww" when I see them. These photos are beautiful.

Melani said...

The writing you do is awesome and these pics are even better! Makes me think of North Dakota and the farm my Papa had when I was a kid. They had a barn and his garden of yummy veggies, I would kill to go back to those days...

Bekah said...

Just great photos! One side of my family, way back when, were tobacco farmers in KY. Takes me back to family gatherings in "the holler".

Iva said...

beautiful post and photos!!! ;)

kys said...

That was so lovely. I wish I had photos of the barn on my grandparents' farm.