Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 8. I built a barn—a long time ago and not by myself, but still, I built a barn. I probably only carried a few nails and boards to my Dad, Mom or my older brothers and sisters who were the ones doing the real work…the building…but I was there, I was a part of it. That’s the type of people I come from: creators. Do it yourself creators who were always being forced to create from what they had because money was tight and there were six kids to feed. Just picture HBO’s “Shameless” in the country circa 1982—minus the welfare, lying, stealing and multiple moms.
30 years later, years of use, wild midwestern weather, loss of relevance and a decade of neglect, that same barn is now falling down. Besides making a plan to finish the demolition and recycle the wood and siding so the structure’s innards can be used to create something new, I struggle with what this means in terms of creating from what I have, the end result and its future. I feel confident that the most important element of my experiment is the act of creating and that the creation is, in and of itself, the victory but the implications of the decay, deterioration and impending doom of my childhood barn has me pondering this reality: whatever I create will probably not last forever. Am I okay with that? Should I care? Should I create it anyway? Yes, no, yes. With creation comes the inevitable: death. It’s the cycle of life. The bigger question that comes up is did the creation serve its purpose while it existed?
If I remove the nostalgia, I can clearly see that the barn served its purpose. It housed hay and gave shelter to hogs. Its stalls witnessed the delivery of numerous baby calves and the milking of cows. Its utility and function were vital and relevant for close to 20 years. It may be on its way out of this world and it will never go down in the history books as a Gettysburg address, Stonehenge, the pyramids, or an E.T., but we were right to create it in the first place.
Of course, I prefer my creations stand the test of time but the most important thing is that they serve their purpose in my life. They need to mean something to me. I need to complete them. I need to be proud of them. And, inevitably, I will need to let them go.
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…no matter how long it lasts.