Monday, February 20, 2012

The Sentinel

As I was sorting through a pile of paper the other day, trashing some, filing some, and putting the rest in new piles, I came upon a photo from years gone by.

This photo was taken in the 1970's during a visit back home from Yellowknife. It shows one of a row of pine stumps which formed a fence along the road in front of our original family farm.  I grew up on the farm next door and we drove by this fence almost every day.

These stumps would have been pulled up at the time of the land clearing by the first settlers and they acted as a boundary marker and cattle barrier for over a century.  It was one of the only stump fences left in that area in my lifetime.  My Dad loved that old fence and the story that came with it; I marveled at the tenacity of the first settlers and the longevity of those twisted roots.

 Living 3000 miles away does make you appreciate more the little things that speak of home.  Armed with a new camera, and looking for subjects, I snapped a shot of this old friend. 

Little did I know how important that act would become.  The negative has long since been lost, but the photo has travelled with me over the decades reminding me of my roots (pun intended).

Within the next year or so, the municipality "upgraded" the road and the stump fence was gone.  On subsequest trips, I would see the stumps lying, unemployed, in the pasture field where they were pushed.  At the same time, driftwood became collectable and trespassers began breaking off pieces of root to set on their coffee tables until the next fad came along.

So now this photo is all that's left to document a time long gone.  If I ever get around to writing my book, I think it will be on the cover.

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