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Posts Tagged ‘built to last’

Photo: Suzanne’s Mom.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
“That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
“And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
“And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. …”

I was going to make some pompous observations about old-time walls meant to clarify property lines, not keep people out or prevent neighborly conversations. But then I read a merciless spoof of bloggers trying to be profound. So I decided just to show you how cleverly these old dry walls were built to last, smaller stones tucked into gaps to keep higher ones balanced.

The spoof was in a strange, delightful novel called Winter, by Ali Smith. And although I bristled at the unproofread mess of her fake blog post, I recognized the temptation to invent or reinterpret something from childhood because … who will know the difference?

But I must stay honest, like the old, sturdy dry walls. They were not the kind that blow over in a high wind as the one in this 2020 story: “A portion of [the] border wall blew over from gusty winds Wednesday, falling on the Mexican side of the border.

“The newly installed panels were a part of an ongoing project to improve existing parts of the wall in Calexico, California. Agent Carlos Pitones of the Customs and Border Protection¬†in El Centro, California, told CNN that the new concrete foundation had not yet cured when the wall panels fell down amid windy conditions.”

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I’ve been enjoying the album “On the Road from Appomattox,” the latest release of outstanding local bluegrass band Southern Rail.

I’ve also been asking myself what makes a song on the album, “Mr. Beford’s Barn,” so moving.

An old man comes to the narrator’s farm and says he wants to see the barn he helped his daddy build years ago. The barn is very solidly constructed, nearly 100 years old now, and the refrain says it will probably last another hundred years.

It makes a person think about how fine it is to make something that lasts hundreds of years. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if maybe the hundred-year-ness is not what’s moving.

The old man will not be there for hundreds of years and will not be enjoying the fact that the barn lasted so long. The reason he wants to see it is that he knows he helped make something that’s very fine. It’s the well-built-ness that is valuable. The hundreds of years are merely a feature of the value.

I think you will like the song. Although it is not on YouTube, the band lists its YouTube songs here, and you might want to listen to a few if you are thinking of buying Appomattox.

http://www.southernrail.com/

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