Buildings carry history, lives and livelihoods fill the empty space inside each room. When a building has crumbled, as so many barns and old houses have in Vermont, it’s almost as if those lives are squeezed out through the rafters and shattered windows and left to hang heavy in the atmosphere around the structure. When you walk by you can feel those memories in the air. But, like cobwebs, they’re nearly impossible to capture, to translate. They leave me wondering: who lived here? What happy moments filled these rooms? And what tragedy befell the people who lived or worked there to cause them to abandon the space to the ravages of time?
This old sugar house sits at the edge of the trail in Charlotte where we used to live. It’s in the woods, with an old road, now long grown over, leading to it. I don’t think any tragedy happened here. I think new technology made the backwoods sugar house obsolete. Tubes now crisscross through the forest, leading down the hill to the sparkly new sugar house with the electric lights and modern boiler. But there’s something about this spot that is very evocative. I picture a witch living in the crumpled space, peering out from the tilted window frames, spying from the edge of the forest on we brightly clothed dog walkers who stroll blithely by.