Merriam Barn Feels the Love from Volunteers

Wall by wall, the Merriam Barn (technically the Cherry Brook Farm barn) is appearing out of the mess of bittersweet and other weeds at the College Pond conservation area. More than a dozen volunteers at Stewardship Saturday this weekend chopped, hacked, and trimmed away the covering mess from four walls of the paddocks and ramp, as well as cleared a historic wall at the Green Power farm across the street.

As mentioned before, the barn somehow inspires an obsession with “just one more area to clear.” Many old rusted farm implements and mysterious metal objects have been found, with a makeshift “museum” started on one of the walls.

To the Owl, the next step would be finding a historic barn expert to answer some of the inevitable questions about what items were used for and what the walls delineate–paddocks? Storage? There is one room/foundation that is lined in brick–it is the only one so lined. Was it used to store something? Cold storage? Beer storage? Or, are we in a Cask of Amontillado situation? If you know a barn expert, please send them the Owl’s way.

Other ruins at that intersection of Merriam Street and Concord Road await similar discovery–past the huge old sugar maples lies the foundation of the old schoolhouse. Up the hill is the foundation of the Merriam home–one photo still exists of that old place as well.

The intrigue of knowing what we don’t know…and the knowledge that the forest will someday reclaim what we cannot keep clear brings up a favorite poem for your Thanksgiving week:

I go by a field where once
I cultivated a few poor crops.
It is now covered with young trees,
for the forest that belongs here
has come back and reclaimed its own.
And I think of all the effort
I have wasted and all the time,
and of how much joy I took
in that failed work and how much
it taught me. For in so failing
I learned something of my place,
something of myself, and now
I welcome back the trees.

“IX.” by Wendell Berry, from Leavings. © Counterpoint Press, 2010.

Thank you, volunteers!

Leave a Reply