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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

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The Cart Without a Horse

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My thoughts were taken back to times past by this old cart come trailer left standing, almost posing, in its abandoned state of proud neglect on the edge of farmland where Lynn and I assumed it once served its purpose. The workmanship of the various trades involved in the building and assembling of this sturdy horse-drawn flatbed stirred my nostalgia for a bygone age when farms almost teemed with the life of people who once worked the land using tools and implements, horse and oxen, long retired in favour of modernity requiring little manpower. Farm and homestead are whisper quiet these days, deserted even. Vast swathes of this immense country without a living soul afoot, barbed and plain wire the only tell-tale guardian of property ownership.

Those that made and built this trailer, Wheelwright, Carpenter, Blacksmith and Mechanic, each with their apprentices, are long gone and so is the bustle of work. To build this bespoke trailer today would cost much in both man-hours and materials, whereas a modern-off-the-shelf replacement would rot out in the time it took for the tyres to deflate and perish. The wooden friction brakes, steering rack, iron-clad wheels, timbers and fixings are all there for the enquiring mind to wonder at the skill and ingenuity that has brought us the computer reliant mass machine production of today, but at what cost? At another time in the future those purposeful manual labour skills, craftsmanship and people the farmer invested in all those years ago to ease his workload might be needed again; we may be left wanting, who knows?

For now all I know is this tired old workhorse brought a smile to our faces with its craftsmanship, colour and textures that made for an interesting photograph or two. I hope it survives for a few years or more yet, so that others can lovingly appreciate it as we did.
17th Jan 2017, 03:08