Scenes like this fascinate me. Once functional places, left to rot. The effects of time and weather on full display. The unstoppable forces of nature slowly but surely reclaiming minerals, elements, and territory.
I discovered this abandoned office at a deserted grain elevator in rural Castro County, Texas. As I ventured through the dilapidated structures, questions started filling my mind. I began to wonder about what was, all the work and the life that took place on this site. I thought about how things looked when the structures and furniture were new, functional, and productive. I thought about the workers, farmers, and families who once made this place an important part of their lives. What happened to the operators who put in many hours weighing and storing grain? What are the stories of the farmers who diligently tended the land to produce the grain and the families who depended on this place as a means of life?
As I stepped inside this forgotten world, the desk immediately grabbed my attention. It is anchored to the ground like a barricade against a door leading to the “free” world. The thought ran through my head of this scene being an analogy of work and the demands of life holding us captive from endless opportunities. At the cusp of our careers, we often look a job offering a nice salary and impressive social status as the solution to our problems and the answer to our heart’s desire; only to come to a point down the line where the consuming nature of that job mandates that many of our true heart’s longings are placed on a shelf for some other time and place. And then it struck me that this analogy is much more literal and personal than I first realized.
There is nothing wrong with an honest job and someone doing whatever it takes to provide for their family. Unfortunately, in our culture our work-life all too often, subtly consumes us. It takes us away from the people and places we love. There was a long stretch of years where my time experiencing nature was relegated to moments on holidays, vacations, and non-working weekends. I came to a point where my heart ached as I realized that William Wordsworth’s words from this sonnet resonated with me:
The World Is Too Much With Us
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
That was my situation, and Wordsworth’s description of being consumed by the cares of this world told the story of me going from a “busy season in life” to a consistent lifestyle of stress, hurry, and endless striving.1 I appreciate this new season in life were I can get outside more, discover desolate grain elevators, and experience Creation.2
How about you? Is the world too much with you? What are you doing about that? - Landry
1 Mark 8:36 ~ "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"
2Romans 12:2 ~ "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."