Friday, May 03, 2013
The Places Left Behind
I find myself drawn to abandoned buildings; there's so much mystery and poignancy about them, and they speak of lives left behind. Each one tells a story: houses that once were filled with life and laughter, shops that once saw a booming trade, or barns that once provided warmth and shelter for animals.
On a recent drive along the coast of Shelburne County between Port Saxon and Churchover via the Lighthouse Route, I stopped to look at two houses and a former general store. The first of the houses was in the village of Ingomar, on a stretch of road leading out of town toward the end of the point. I got out of the car to take a closer look, and when I took out my camera and shot through a broken window, a small animal chattered at me from inside. At least I think it was a small animal; I decided not to stay around long enough to find out.
The abandoned general store was also in Ingomar, on the main road leading into the community. Large windows had been boarded over, and next to the entrance door a thermometer on a metal backing had been hung from the wall. The glass appeared intact, but all the markings were lost in rust so I have no idea how warm -- or cool -- it was when I visited. I can imagine, though, that it was a selling tool in summer, when the proprietor could point out how hot it was, and convince the local children that a scoop of strawberry ice cream was the only logical way to cool down!
The second of the houses was at Gunning Cove, overlooking McNutt's Island and Shelburne Harbour. Like the first, it was of simple Maritime vernacular design, and likely would have been home to a good-sized family. From its location next to the water, it was probably the home of a local fisherman; there were lilac trees planted nearby to scent the breeze, and evidence of a garden that had been well-tended in its day.
The feeling that these buildings bring on is, for me, a mixture of curiosity and melancholy. Black and white felt like the right treatment for them.