I tried my best to solve the mystery behind Otter Creek Cemetery in time to post for Memorial Day. The signage indicates that a long time has passed since someone was buried on this Brazil, Indiana, stretch of country road. I climbed the embankment to find no headstones, no visible sign that someone’s loved ones were buried there.
I talked to a woman at the Clay County Historical Society and I Googled … no immediate information about the cemetery, let alone an explanation as to why there are no grave markers on this grassy knoll. Were the graves moved, and if so, when and why? Is it an old family plot and the markers disappeared generations ago? Was it a county cemetery for the poor and downtrodden?
The two American flags indicate that someone out there knows that at least two brave souls were laid to rest there … who were they … in what war did they serve?
I hope the historians and genealogists find answers to my questions and more … because this is definitely one mystery that needs to be solved.
I have had an epiphany. It came after I told my mom how distressing it has been to document the looming fate of my barn on my blog. She gave me her oil painting of the barn from 20 years ago, and we reminisced about how the barn looked when my brother and parents first moved there. Chickens roosted in the rafters and my dad tinkered in his workshop on the south end near the silo.
It served our family well until my dad died. My brother sold the land to me, then moved out of state. My mom moved into town. In the five years that I’ve lived here, I have stood idly by and watched as time and the elements brought my barn to her knees. So I too bowed and prayed for answers … a sign.
My best friend wants to burn it to the ground, but that would take out five large trees, ruin my silo and probably get me in trouble with the volunteer fire department. Some say tear it down and use the barn wood to make rustic arts and crafts and make a small fortune.
I struggled with what seemed to be my only two choices … until … a recent sunrise through the barn illuminated the ladder to the skylight in the rafters, and it looked quite lovely and inviting. As I walked through the barn, the answer finally dawned on me. The barn no longer belongs to me. I abandoned it long ago. It has been reclaimed by nature. There are birds nesting in the rafters; chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits hiding from hawks and other predators; a feral cat protecting her kittens; and a black snake my son turned lose to keep down the field mice population. I hold out hope that a barn owl will take refuge there as well. And last, but not least, there’s a well established tree growing through the roof and several seedlings following suit.
So I have decided that the only way this barn is going to burn is if God strikes it with a bolt of lightning. Instead of tearing it down, I have officially declared the barn a sanctuary for all living things. It is now designated a nature preserve. No interfering with father time and mother nature. Just mow and weed eat around it. Should a piece of tin roof blow off, or a board drop to the ground, then and only then will we recycle or reuse it.
And my No. 1 grounds keeping rule now also applies to the barn. We don’t cut down perfectly healthy trees!
I’ve taken a stand. I’ve put my foot down and it too is firmly planted!
Photo of the Week series: Every Sunday in 2012 I will either share a photo from my archives or something new I just can’t wait to get feedback on for future art shows/exhibits.
Blogger participation: My hope is to receive enough input on each week’s photo to later post a Bloggers’ Choice of the Month and wrap up 2012 with a Bloggers’ Choice of the Year.