The Silver Twin's ...Place...
In New England Decorative Art
"Wander and Wonder"
Returning... with enhanced senses of wander and wonder... and with these, too, bringing enhanced senses of... expectations and qualifications... to the Silver Twin’s Place ...homestead site... I
Open my eyes
That is there.
The creepy apology of “I like going in old attics”... that suffices to lay down... the lay antiquarian ‘enthusiast’ (“buff”)... is not good enough
Especially these days
Old New England “Yeah, yeah”.
“They no longer see?”
You ask if... I say.
Yes... and of the sorts that I have already spoken; the coffee can of clothespins...
Was the woman’s art (Part Two).
It is art still in my eye. (I keep my eye fresh). (“Yes I do”).
But the ‘they’
Have gone away.
I poke this. Merely a step into the homestead’s ‘attached shed’ (running between the back or ‘kitchen’ door.... “OUT” to the barn. Hanging there
Without a care
Is an old
“Yoke”... once worn by a (young) man... for eleven generations (!). The Jaded ‘they’ walks... right... by... that... “these days”. “CANNOT SELL THEM” they say... in their special antiquarian way
That typically translates ‘all that be’ of ‘homestead’ “ATTIC” into
“Cash” (“money”) (‘coin of the realm’ value).
I always thought you would anyway... and when ...I... look back over the forty years YOU have ‘been at this’... I do have affirmation
Of my qualifications
Of my expectations
FOR YOU to be exactly
Go out behind the wood pile and pee.
Then get back in your truck and
I, for my part (in the shed) have already found a jewel and show now... how to see it; expectations and... qualifications.
“Be that there handmade here (at this homestead) and hung there? For how many generations ‘hung there’? Yes we know that now. One man one day two hundred years ago made that one day once one only ...with his hatchet.
Had fun enough doing that he did... that day. “Task” it was “They needed one”.
“Well woman... well water... carry that”... and it is STILL all up hill from the spring
On the hillside of the Silver Twin’s Place.
But they ‘could also’
In (Maple) sap season ‘carry those’ sap ‘buckets’. The colloquial name sticks there: I am highlighting the Colonial New England ‘Sap Yoke’.
But darling... that is just one short part of one short season of one short work. Many times in the late summer or late fall... or late spring... “one of the BOYS” “came out” to the “MEN” with the yoke on and carrying their... “noon time meal”
Have you ever had a ‘noon time meal’.
I suppose it depends on where... and how... “you grew up”
In New England.
So already I’ve found three seasons and/or daily uses meaning the old yoke ‘saw service’ daily with.... “What about the WINTER?”. No... not much there; “IT” “hung in the shed” for “that” (winter)? Oh no... they DID, on the good days (storm free), “CUT” down below the pasture and... out came the yoke with the ‘noon time meal’. Again. The boy wore snowshoes. So did the men
Have you ever ‘cut’ (trees down with a chain saw) wearing snowshoes? I didn’t think so. If you do sometime happen to, you’ll have revised qualifications and expectations of your ‘noon time meal’.
Let your hand reach out and touch the old yoke. The man who made it... with his hatchet... has been dead for two hundred years. This is the only yoke he ever made. He made this one. It ‘passed’ in the shed... of the Silver Twin’s place for eleven generations. Now someone is going to buy it from me and ‘hang it in’ their ‘camp’? “Not unless it’s cheap”. They assure me.
“Are not we in a Bastard after all”. It is easier for one to just put this all down and “GO” to the .... and “BUY” one of those; a pair of camouflaged pattern printed camp “water buckets”
“But where are your yokes for sale? Sir?”
“OH WE JUST USE THE BUCKETS AT CAMP. WE WANT THE YOKE FOR DECORATION”.
Well you cannot have it.
Mary Earle Gould in her “EARLY AMERICAN WOODEN WARE” ‘touches’ “sap yokes’ very slightly in her ‘sap’ sections (pgs. 104-106, 185-187). She has two photographic illustration of ‘sap yokes’ too. And then she moves on. One has to explore for more than ‘a little’ in an effort to find “treatment” (qualification, expectations and... affirmation) of “sap” yokes. That’s okay... for I already said... “go away”. If one does go to doing this effort one will find a time travel helps. Back one should go to the nineteen seventies when
Discovery was made
By such and such luminaries as Eric Sloane; who illuminated mysteries from a homestead past... upon New England coffee tables (“I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE BOOKS?”)
“I KNOW HE HAD A (sap) YOKE IN IT” (his books).
But when you get back there (1970’s) LOOK AROUND. One funny one once upon a time...
...I find the curious gallery show: “AMERICAN DESIGN IN THE RUARL NEW ENGLAND HOME”. And in its critical write up it includes an old yoke hung as sculpture on a gallery wall: “gives a large space to a sap yoke dated 1850 which came from along the Maine New Hampshire border near Crawford Notch. An important of seasonal and hard use, the yoke has been through a lot and we can see something of its history by looking at its layers. It was repaired once by ‘sewing’ a split off piece along the length with leather thongs. The repair would have been preferable to carving out a new yoke. Later it was painted blue, a beautiful flat medium blue, leather and wood. Later yet it sat unused, probably in a barn and was chewed a little by mice. It is still perfectly usable although the left shoulder needs a new rope and hook. Now it’s on the wall (hung as sculpture)”.
Opening that essay the writer states, of the rural New England design premise, “The show is a disturbance to the plasticity and controlled desperation of daily life: ...Where are such manifestations of unabashed originality and individuality in our own rural life?”.
Care to go inside an old shed and find out? After discovering the old yoke hanging on the wall for service, take it ‘down’ and look at it. Wander and wonder it. For yourself. Not for dollars. Not. That is right: JUST “not”.
Why? Because it (the old yoke) is better than you are. It is that simple.