I’m at my mum’s in New Brunswick this week and next. Escaping icy Ottawa by returning to the land of my forebears, where the snow is as high as an elephant’s eye. Ha. Not joking, actually. Still a change is as good as a rest. Isn’t it?
Maybe. But not all change is restful. I’ve been going through lots of technology changes these past few weeks, and feeling the growing pains. I’m pretty used to this new blog format. I love it actually, I think that Brandon did a stellar job interpreting my wishes. The new format is more modern, clean, and bright. The idea being that black text on white is clean and easy to read; the gold/tan is supposed to give the template some warmth, and the punch of red… a little bit of zing. I’m also getting used to using the new WordPress “Gutenberg” editor, learning how to add links and photos, etc. And for the past week or so learning how to navigate, and even understand, Google Analytics.
Coming home to Mum’s added to my learning curve, though. When I’m away from home, I usually blog on my i-pad using an ap that can post to Blogger. But of course that won’t work anymore. So I did some research and found out that there’s a mobile WordPress ap for i-pads. But my old i-pad doesn’t have the capacity to download it, and, anyway, apparently the ap is not working well with the new “Gutenberg editor” on WordPress. Ok-ay. Foiled twice in that endeavour.
So I’ve been messing around with Mum’s new small, light laptop that we bought her for her 90th birthday. But wow… it’s slow, and glitchy, and doesn’t like talking to the WordPress dashboard. Turns out that Mum’s never liked her new laptop as much as she liked the old one, even if the old one was getting too big and heavy for her. Luckily she still has it. So I started messing around with her old laptop. Reinstalling stuff, updating everything. And it’s much better than the new one. Huh. Change can be frustrating, and doesn’t always make things better.
So, finally, I’m attempting this post on Mum’s old computer. And I’ve been messing around in her pictures folder too. Some of the photos are a graphic reminder to me that change, even when you know it’s for the best, is difficult. And sometimes sad. The shot below is of the old barns on the farm at home. The last days of the old barns as it turned out.
The old horse barn on the left was the first permanent building on this land. Built initially as a house, it had been used as a barn since the big house was built sometime in the late nineteenth century. It had huge, old hand-hewn beams, and in some places two-foot long cedar shingles attached with square-headed, hand-made nails.
I loved that old barn. I loved everything about it: the silver patina on the old shingles, the dipping roof line where we spied a barn cat one year batting at passing birds, the lovely square nails. The old horse collars that hung over each stall, the big dusty trunk that held all manner of horse halters and reins and paraphernalia. The long wooden flaps at the front of the stalls that you unhooked to feed the horses their hay and oats, the wooden feed box worn smooth by generations of lovely, clumpy-footed workhorses. The hayloft up the handmade ladder where my step-father would fork down hay, and where one spring he found a litter of black and white kittens. You see? I can close my eyes and conjure up every detail without even trying.
But after the death of my stepfather, the old barns fell into disrepair. And then one bad winter, strong winds stove in the back of the larger hay barn, collapsing its big back doors through which we used to drive the loads of hay, and pushing it into the other building. The decision became inevitable. For safety’s sake, they had to come down.
I watched the whole thing vicariously via Facebook posts by my nieces. I even shed a tear or two. And when Hubby chastised me for being silly, saying that it couldn’t be helped, the farm was too much for Mum to look after on her own, I may have been a little snippy with him. Just because I knew it was for the best, didn’t mean it wasn’t sad.
Sheesh. I didn’t mean to wax nostalgic today. Just wanted to talk a bit about messing around with computers. But seeing those pictures of the old barns lead me into thinking about how weathering change, even when it’s good change, or necessary change, or inevitable change, is not all smooth sailing. Not always easy. I think about that a lot when I’m home. About change. And how the changes yet to come will be inevitable. And how shutting my eyes to them, or persisting in looking at the world through rose coloured spectacles (as I am wont to do) is perhaps not the best way to cope.
I guess I’ll have to work on that.
Meanwhile, I’m done messing around with computers for tonight. The kettle has boiled and Mum and I have a date with a new episode of “Father Brown.”
How about you, my friends? Any unwelcome, or maybe even positive, but still difficult, change you’re weathering these days?
P.S. Thanks to Krista Burpee-Buell and Tammy Burpee-Deschenes for the photos. xo