As the end of the year gets very close I have been thinking about the passing of time and the ending of eras. These things happen all the time of course – time passing and eras ending I mean, and sometimes – often even – we don’t notice, or not till later.
I am at Auburn this week staying with dad once again. He and mum and my older sister moved into this house a year or so before I was born. At that time, there were quite a few empty blocks in the street. There are fewer now, with various sell-offs of land over the years. Miss Crocker, whose house faces Port Road, but whose land goes through to Henry Street, died a couple of years ago, and finally her place and the land surrounding it are being prepared for sale. The land – a bit over an acre I think – will be divided into blocks, and the fences have been removed and some of the trees knocked over. What remains, at the moment anyway, are the old barns that have stood here for many many years. I don’t know who built them, but they are very old, built in the nineteenth century I’m sure.
I went and had a close look at them a few days ago – it is easier now that the fences are gone – the stone work is quite beautiful in some places. I wonder who made the quoins
(I think that is the word for the special stones at the corners of the building), who created the patterns on the blocks? What were the buildings used for? They are dilapidated barns now – did they once house animals?
Miss Crocker lived in the house in front of the barns for many decades (you can see the roof in some of the photos here). I faintly remember her father and dad tells me that she had a disabled sister too, and that her mother was a forceful character. We used to take groceries there sometimes. I think of her plodding around the yard, wearing an all over pinny, and a plain dress. She had a dog in later years. In many ways she was part of the landscape of living here, but I didn’t really know her. She was over 90 when she died, after a quiet, unassuming life.
But soon the Miss Crocker era will be totally in the past. The old barns, like the old year, will be gone too. Whoever did the stonework will be even more invisible than they already are, once the stones themselves go. Time passes and leaves us in its wake. We make tiny echoes if we are lucky. It is good to make the most of it all, to notice and enjoy and hold lightly but with relish each day as it passes. Hooray for 2015, for Miss Crocker, for the barn maker, for the animals who lived there, and for all that is to come too. Happy New Year