Barn Chasing

This barn was visible in the distance as I wandered Fairfield County backroads Saturday. I couldn’t resist going for a closer look.

Regular readers here will notice that old barns are a common theme in my photos. In this area they are typically wood with a metal roof. Sometimes they have interesting cupolas, stone foundations or weather vanes. That’s great but I’m just as fond of simple lines and no adornments. I like the silhouette of a wood or stone barn against an expansive sky.

Barns were once the heart of a farm and the few remaining are larger than life examples of folk art.

Modern barns are typically sided with metal and have about as much character as a box of rocks. Of course, we’re lucky to have any barns or farms left as it becomes harder every day for small farmers to survive.

I also drove past several tracts of farmland turned construction sites. New homes will soon take over the landscape, a timely reminder of why these pleasant surprises along country roads are becoming harder to find.

Remembering Dr. King and the National Civil Rights Museum

Today we celebrate the life, teachings and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If he had not been cut down by an assassin’s bullet in 1968, he would be 91 now. He would have elderly children, grandkids and great grandkids. It’s hard to picture when you consider the timeless images of a young man like the one above.

Here he is with his wife and first child. It brings to mind the famous quote that we all have heard.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

You have to wonder how much different the world and our country might be had he lived longer.

Today I thought we should visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. First of all, Memphis is one of my favorite places because there is music and history and culture and mac and cheese at every turn. Seriously, the abundance of homemade mac and cheese is pretty spectacular.

But it’s also home to this museum that beautifully and skillfully tells the story behind the movement.

Among other things, the museum has preserved the Loraine Motel where Dr. King was murdered. You can see his room and the balcony where he stood when bullets were fired from a boarding house across the street. Incidentally, you can tour that boarding house as well.

Visiting here was a sobering, humbling experience that sort of put a damper on the fun of all that music and food. But friends, I would go back today if given the opportunity and I would highly recommend it to you as well.

Facing history gives us the opportunity to learn from our past, to humanize those people we read about in text books and to hopefully do better tomorrow. And if nothing else, a place like this instills in us a new sense of empathy and understanding that we may not have known on our own.

Want to visit the National Civil Rights Museum? Click here for details. If you wish to ponder the teachings and thoughts of Dr. King, this is a good source for quotes.