in rural Paris, Iowa, and Wordpress


For more than a year while I continued to live and frolic in Mexico as I have for the last four years, the farmstead on which I grew up has sat vacant. While there were previously two auction sales here while my father was still alive, one to sell equipment associated with livestock and another to sell equipment associated with crop farming, there remained a great deal of equipment sitting in the sheds and slowly deteriorating.

Some vestige of responsibility in me required that I do something about this. Since late December I have been back here living in isolation, slowly cleaning up the place, and selling off equipment. My mother survives, but her signal is weak. She has no interest even in visiting this place anymore. I live among dead people out here. At times I feel as if I am up to my ass in dead people.

This is not a woe-is-me blog post, however. The experience has been interesting in a grim sort of way. At times I find it comical that after a lifetime I am back here in the very place where I started–but only temporarily. My apartment in Mexico awaits me.

While I have always had a decent grip on that fact that people die, it really did not occur to me that the family farm as an economic unit would also die. I temporarily occupy one of the last intact family farmsteads that sits amid others that are dead. Everything changes. That may be the only meaning and purpose of life. Change. Thus saith Stephen.

Here I stand with the new owner of the oldest tractor from this place, a tractor that was purchased in 1948, the year my parents purchased the farm.

Harold is himself a retired farmer with a cancer that makes it more difficult for him to breathe as each day passes. He purchased this tractor for sentimental reasons of his own.

6 Responses to “Mutability”

  1. Angeline M

    Sad,stark photos that speak of time. And places left behind. Change is going to happen one way or another. That is what life is about, and it’s good to go with the flow.

  2. Misirlou

    Gorgeous photos, Stephen. Enjoy your temporary isolation. If you can’t enjoy it, then just let it happen. 🙂

  3. veraersilia

    Great historical photography. And great life-experience for you. Thanks for telling us about it. It is a national tragedy that family farms are disappearing. Eaten by the corporate world.


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