When I travel to Ithaca, I can go one of two ways: the hilly way or the flat way. Both ways take me past many abandoned buildings scattered around the farm fields–abandoned houses, barns, and silos. Abandoned buildings are common here in rural upstate New York, and each one has a story–a story of sadness, a story of surrender, a story of loss.

I often wonder about the last person to walk out of one of these buildings. Why did he decide to give up? Why did she walk away instead of selling the building to someone else? What happened to make someone decide that it was better to give up this building to the elements than to try to keep it together?

Most of the abandoned structures I pass are wooden structures that diminish with every passing winter. But there is one I pass on Route 227 that is made of stone. It looks like it was once built to be a solid structure to last more than a lifetime. Now it’s open to the elements, home only to the vines and the wildlife.

In summer, you can hardly see it for all the vines covering it. But now that we’re on the cusp of winter, and we’ve had our first snowfall, you can see the ruins. I wonder about the story behind this house.


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