The Ruined Cottage


Originally uploaded by Suffering the Benz

I’ve been driving past this burned down house for a few weeks now, and it dawned on me that this would make a nice HDR photo set. So I took my camera there around sunset and snapped a series of photos. The house was donated to the fire department, which burned it down for practice. On this lot and the surrounding acreage, a grocery store and drug store soon will sprout, continuing the suburban sprawl that’s been choking Hardin Valley for the past several years.

As I shot the photo, a riot of swallows soared overhead, snagging bugs in fits of aerial acrobatics. An occasional car thumped past, the subsonics from its speakers drumming a call to Saturday night parties. And then a hush fell over the fields around me. I started thinking of Wordsworth’s poem “The Ruined Cottage” and the moment consumed me …

“He ceased. Ere long the sun declining shot
A slant and mellow radiance, which began
To fall upon us, while, beneath the trees,
We sate on that low bench: and now we felt,
Admonished thus, the sweet hour coming on.
A linnet warbled from those lofty elms,
A thrush sang loud, and other melodies,
At distance heard, peopled the milder air.
The old Man rose, and, with a sprightly mien
Of hopeful preparation, grasped his staff;
Together casting then a farewell look
Upon those silent walls, we left the shade;
And, ere the stars were visible, had reached
A village-inn, – our evening resting-place. ”