West Cornwall is well known for its covered bridge which crosses the Housatonic River in western Connecticut. Just about any time I pass by there is likely to be someone who has stopped to make a photograph. The little town benefits from the bridge, which is something of an attraction for out of town visitors, and is the reason there are a couple of places to stop for a simple meal or a cup of coffee. I have stopped many times, on my way to or from a photography outing, to walk out onto the bridge so that I could look out one of its windows; sometimes there are trout fishermen wading in the river just below.
Like so many others, I had brought a visitor from out of state to let him see and photograph the bridge as part of an afternoon’s sight seeing drive. We stopped to stretch our legs after a call of nature and cup of coffee, followed by a walk around the small village. We were walking down the street toward the river when I caught site of this gate standing open and the fence that is getting lost in the overgrowth. The house behind the gate looked abandoned; growing things had taken over the yard and were advancing on the house itself. It had once been a nice house, right on one of the mains streets just a block from the bridge, the town’s main attraction. What had happened to the people who once took care of it? At one time the gate and fence had been freshly painted, and the hostas and daylilies tended. The fence inclosed a small front lawn, and it wasn’t difficult to imagine a dog or perhaps a small child and mother taking some sun on a nice day. It must have been a lovely home at one time. What happened to the people who lived here? What became of their dreams, their hopes, that would leave this place is such a state?
It was a beautiful day, and there was more to see and do, and I had a visitor from out of state to entertain so we moved on after making a few photographs. But the house and it’s story left me moody and asking myself troubling questions. What is going to become of the things I care about when I can no longer care for them? We strive to have things, a house, a car, and all the stuff we put in them, and in the end they will be left for someone to wonder; what happened to the people who used to live here?
I’m thinking too much, it’s only a gate.
Pentax K10D with 35mm f2.8 macro lens. Processed in Photoshop CS4 and converted to black and white in Nik Silver Efex Pro2.