Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project 365 - History

I live in an area of southeastern Pennsylvania that is steeped in history.  I must admit that I generally take it for granted.  You can not travel the local roads around here without passing antique structures of all kinds. Some have survived from the times of the American revolution.

Today, I planned to venture out with my camera and take advantage of the freshly fallen snow.  Maybe a walk in the woods along the creek in search of icy treasures.  Or maybe I would travel a bit further afield to the old mill that sits on a beautiful little mill pond not far from my home.  But, true to form, the day got away from me and I lost my enthusiasm for pulling on layers of clothing and snow boots, so I crossed the woods off my to do list.  I ended up throwing my camera in the car and making a half hearted jaunt to the mill.  I planned to shoot it's sleepy, snowy reflection in the lingering afternoon light and be home in 20 minutes.   Some neighborhood kids had other ideas though. They had turned my vision of winter serenity into a hockey rink.  Sigh.  I drove on, grumbling to myself.

 Before I knew it, I found myself parked in front of what used to be the hamlet of Dilworthtown.  This is a place where 5 roads converge in the cradle of the Brandywine River.  Not far from this spot, General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette led a rag tag group of citizen soldiers and farmers into one of many battles for independence that occurred in the area.  There are several old buildings here.  Some have been lovingly restored and are now private residences.  Three have been turned into fine dining establishments.  But, the building that called me was none of these.  The building that spoke to me was abandoned and coming apart at the seams. I worked my way around the property.  The more I shot, the more I wondered.  Who had lived here?  Why had they left? What had they seen when they peered from behind the loosened shutters out into a freshly fallen snow?  Perhaps an aimless stranger who had been disappointed by a plan gone awry.

Sometimes, I guess, the truest treasures are found when you are aimless.  When the plan you made and settled into, begs to be released and your direction is diverted. Sometimes, history is hiding just behind a crumbling old wall and mirrored in dirty glass.