Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Silver Twin's ...Place... In New England Decorative Art - Part One - "Rutted Path"

The Silver Twin's


In New England Decorative Art

Part One

"Rutted Path"

The Silver Twins lived in their rural Maine ancestral homestead (built in 1792).  The homestead was locally titled “The Silver Twin’s Place”.  It was a “farm” at the top of the “Silver Hill Road”  The homestead had the top of “Silver Hill” behind it.  The homestead had an open and clear downhill view to the east-southeast.  What that “eastern” view plane created was a supple fading of light at the farm each afternoon as the sun ‘passed’ to the west and ‘caught’ the top of Silver Hill.  The south eastern view with its dawn and ‘sunrise’ upon the homestead was “always” “brilliant”.  This has been so for the past two hundred years, including the first decades (1792-1812) required to “open” this view.  This ‘opened’ view is still open as I write.

            In 1792, at the bottom Silver Hill Road, was the ‘center of the village’ “of then”.  This consisted of three primitive and small one-man-self-made “saw mills”... on a very small “stream” the was called a “brook”.  That brook then was... and still is... pathetically small to one of today’s vision to be accepted as ‘being big enough to run’... a ...saw ...mill.  These mills, the center of the ‘of then’ village, were at a crossroad that consisted of the “road” ‘passing through’ (the mill village) along one side of the ‘brook’ with a second ‘road’ joining it from the right where this second ‘road’ “crossed” the ‘brook’... at where the three ‘mills’ stood.  This road, going east away from the brook... “went up” (hill) to that hill’s top where... one found... three homesteads ‘in sight’.  This ‘road’ was not a ‘road’ much past the base of this hill.  It was first a ‘path’ and then, by 1792, had become a ‘rutted path’.  The ruts were caused by the oxen hauling the ‘milled lumber’ up the path to the top of the hill to build the homesteads that were ‘up there’.

            This milled lumber was not hauled ‘in a wagon’.  The village did not have ‘a wagon’.  The lumber was ‘skidded’ ‘up hill’ on a ‘sledge’.  Sort of.  Hence... the ruts... on the path... that caused this path to be considered to ‘be enough’ to be ‘a road’ (‘going east’).  Sort of.
            The ‘road passing through’ following the ‘brook’ and passing by the mill village followed the ‘brook’ “down” to “the river” that was “nearly a mile below”.  This river was ‘big’ so before one came to it on this road one came to a crossroad again where paths that were, too, rutted enough by oxen to be considered fair to title as roads... went... “WEST” or “EAST” and had a “PATH” “down to the river ahead” “TOO”.  

Back at the mill village crossroad... the “mill hill” road crossed the ‘road passing through’ and started, across that intersection, up hill.  There this path... that became a ‘road’, was titled “Silver Hill Road” and “went up hill” to the top of the Silver Hill Road where one found the Silver Twin’s homestead just below the top of Silver Hill.
            The Silver Twins; twin sisters, were born in 1886.  They were born on the family’s Silver Hill Farm in a small room in the ‘house’.  They were the first... and only... ‘Silver Twins’.  Before them came ‘their family’ who ‘settled the hill’ with this beginning several decades before 1792.  The 1792 date is “WHEN” “the house” “was finished”.  To this day there is little else ‘up there’; ‘upon’, ‘up’ and ‘over’ Silver Hill and... Silver Hill Road.  “The view” from “Silver Hill” (meaning Silver Hill Farm) is about all of Silver Hill and its road that anyone speaks of ‘anymore’.  In fact, with the “forest” “came back” after it being fully “cut” in the Nineteenth Century... including the “TOP” of Silver Hill (“I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THAT WAS BARE”)... one hears the words “glimpse the view” (from Silver Hill) as an accurate evaluation as to “HOW” the Silver Hill Farm view “is holding up”.  In the end; at the end of this missive, the Silver Twin’s homestead is ‘gone’ and “the forest” “grown up”.

            There are two aspects of ‘small’ about the Silver Twin’s Place I need to treat.  First, the ‘house’ (the homestead structure including its shed extension and barn) were ‘small’.  The house was a twenty-six foot square ‘house’ with a first floor as living space and the ‘up under the eves’ “unfinished” “attic” for storage and for “children” to “sleep”.  Over the two centuries of usage, this never changed.  The shed was a ‘walk though’ enclosure going to the barn.  The barn was twenty-four feet wide by thirty-six feet long.  It was never altered or ‘extended’.  It was ‘finished’ “in 1808”.  “They say”.
            Below the ‘farm’ buildings was the (cleared) “field” or “pasture”.  This was nearly two acres of hill top scant and rock filled “soil”.  The “field” was “for hay” with a family’s kitchen garden at the uphill end before the homestead.  One must understand that “THIS” was “IT”.  It is easiest to understand that, as a ‘farm’, the Silver Twin’s Place was, in total... “very small”.
            If they (the family) ‘grew corn’ it was very little corn that they used themselves.  Hay was ‘very little’ too.  Everything that ‘grew’ was ‘very little’.  “Very little” means ‘not even enough for the family’.  But it ‘had to be’ “enough”.  So it was.  For two hundred years.
            This (“very little” and “very small”) is where one may first broach the notion... and sense of scale... of the Silver Twin’s... place... in New England decorative art.  At the hill top, at the homestead, at the top of the rutted path “road”; at this top of up hill on The Silver Hill Road, in the eighteenth century... did New England decorative art... have ‘sense of scale’ “even there”?

            Even modest beginning; the ‘opening’ of the ‘view”... IS an
            Early New England decorative... art.
            The homestead, of course, “too”.
            The rutted path called “road”?
            Absolutely of a man’s hand in New England... made.

            Need to receive these notions further... deeper; to feel this ‘it’
            Embrace, wrap arms, hug
            This peculiar true
            May you?
            Is it this... rutted mud primitive...
            New England decorative art?
            Why don’t I open this view
            For you.

            The first absolute rule of New England design that affected the Silver Twin’s place was.... “what goes down creates what comes up”.  This means that what went DOWN the Silver Hill Road from the homestead directly determined what came UP to the homestead.  And I have established that we are speaking of ‘very small, very little’.  If there could be a ‘something’ to go DOWN then possibly there could be something come UP to the homestead.  What, then, could go DOWN?
            Trees... cut down trees... COULD go down... and it was (is still) ALL DOWN HILL.  A cut down tree COULD go down to the mill village at the bottom of the hill.  This COULD ... BE... DONE.  There (“down there”) the cut down tree could be sawed in to lumber and:
            Hauled back UP to the homestead... to build a homestead and ‘a barn’.
            Or it could be ‘bartered’ for
            Foremost at a settlement homestead... iron... tools.  A pot.  A pan. A blade.
            An axe
            A scythe.
            And not much more.
            “A kettle?”
            “OK that too”.  But:
            How well did this go?  This trade of cut down trees and iron.  Go?  It was ‘very small’ and ‘very little’.  And always on the rutted path called ‘road’.
            “I did not think we could get this far.  But we have and you’ve
            Opened up the view.  Too.  Dear”.
            Who is “Dear”?
            Who opens a view?

            Of course there could be too... “Things” from the cut down trees ‘right there’ (made right there and then on site)  Does that be too...
            New England decorative art?
            “COULD BE... I suppose.  But not of any finery... could be it
            I suppose”.
            Be not sure... be ye... of thee... sure of that be ‘could be’
            And be ye could be ‘that be art’.  Too?  Up hill on a rutted path?
            Find alone the view plane?  The homestead door is open now and
            Not fastened by an iron latch.
            Its wooden handle is ‘made’ “right there”.

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