Monday, May 31, 2010
Posted by Mar-Ce Bennett
It was a beautiful Sunday in spring. Perfect for an afternoon drive. We live in a bustling city but just outside of town, the subdivisions morph into pastoral countryside. We turned down a little country road and were rewarded with the sight of a beautiful, century-old covered bridge sprawled across a serene-flowing river. After stopping to snap photos, we got back in the car and decided to cross the bridge to see where it led. Surprisingly, vehicles are still allowed to traverse the historic structure at a wicked 5 miles per hour. Rumbling over the clunky, wooden planks, we thought about the horse-drawn wagons that had bumped over this same route years ago. On the other side, we came upon the last vestiges of what was once a thriving saw mill town. A few old dilapidated, wood houses, a church and a weathered barn are all that remain. Over the decades, the acreage around the town has grown into a lush forest and the surrounding fields flaunt millions of midnight blue phlox...all bobbing their perky heads in the gentle breeze. Standing knee-deep in wild flowers, we gazed up at the sagging, decrepit barn and embraced the utter stillness and peaceful solitude of our surroundings.
In the blink of an eye, we were transported back one hundred years. It was all so unexpected to discover this lovely, hidden little place. It's quaint, quiet and basically undisturbed today. But I wonder what it must have been like a century or more ago. The buzz of the saw mill. The men...hot and sweltering, covered in saw dust performing a dirty, dangerous job. The women...outside washing clothes, tending their gardens, baking bread. The children...helping out with the chores. From sunup to sundown, no electricity out there in the sticks. No mammoth, modern-day grocery stores, no Home Depots or malls. No computers or fast food or cell phones or TV.
It was a back-breaking hard life back then. Yet the simplicity and beauty of that bucolic, little village today masks the difficulties and hardships those country folk faced. Every so often, I wish I lived in a simpler time...with no worries of terrorists or identity theft or oil spills. But then I come to my senses and realize that I'd be lost without the microwave, computer and a million other technological conveniences. Still I'm glad that sweet, little country village has not entirely disappeared. The rugged, old covered bridge was like a time tunnel that for just a brief spec of time, guided us to a peaceful oasis far removed from our crazy, hectic, modern society. Over a hundred years after the town's demise, it continues to provide an unpretentious beauty, grace and homespun charm that is often lacking in our world today. I think we'll be back for many more visits.
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