I was driving down a country road in East Texas and the sight of this abandoned house made me pull my car over and get out my camera.
Surrounded by barbed wire, it sits in a corner of a neatly kept pasture. When I saw it there were no cows in the field, but the fence was in good repair and the grass was cropped short. Ancient oaks and pines dotted the pasture, which stretched away flat to the horizon.
The house sits, its roof-beam slowly collapsing into the center, the porch deck gradually sinking, dropping the gracious door with its two sidelights into the red soil beneath its posts. Behind the windows winks the daylight, filtering through the remains of the roof from the open sky above.
There was no traffic on the two-lane road, and in the quiet after I stepped out of the car, you could hear the breeze in the branches of the tree. The wind blew my hair across my face.
I walked down the road to a gate, wondering if I could find a way in and get closer. From this side, the house was tilted crazily, like cards holding one another upright.
The gate was firm, its bars sturdy. No way in, except...
Temptation. Should I try to wriggle through? Trespassing? I hesitated.
I'm not as young as I was. What if I got stuck? What if I came upon a cow? It would be trespassing. And I had a plane to catch in four hours, anyway. I walked back to the car.
Seeing the picture, it's easy to imagine this house desolate and eerily still, alone in its field and silent.
Yet it wasn't silent at all. It was alive with sound, as the wind urged it further toward destruction.
A tinny creaking, rhythmic tink-tink-tink-tink. The skritching swipe of dead branches against the siding. A clattering deep within. A hollow thunk as wooden slats flapped against one another. A groaning cry as the metal roofing flexed like a sail.
This house isn't dying quietly. It's writhing, moaning, clocking its life away.