Monday, January 27, 2014

Dr. Zhivago and the Barn in Winter

In the movie, Dr. Zhivago-set during the turbulence of the Russian Revolution-one particular scene reminds me of my grandfather's barn in Winter. I didn't pick up on that when I read the book. It hit me after seeing the movie for the 2nd time. That specific scene shows the doctor and his lover, Lara, entering an abandoned home complete with chandeliers. It took my breath away. Not because it was obvious how elaborate that place must have been but rather-it was because the rooms were full of snow and shimmering, sparkling ice crystals and frost resembling lace-just like my grandfather's barn in winter-itself abandoned-not by a revolution of any sort but instead by a farmer and his wife aging-then moving.

While we played around that farm and its fields and pastures every season-to me, Winter was the most breathtaking. Void of any animals, the barn stood silent-except for the wind etching its way through cracks and holes in the slabs of weathered wood with some of those slabs loose and hitting the side of the barn. Along with the wind, snow found its way inside; creating little drifts here and there. Old milk cans-empty stanchions-empty chicken roosts-pitchforks-everything was shining with an icy frost. Haylofts would glisten when streaks of daylight enhanced the leftover bales and the wooden bridge that connected one side to the other. The way the roof came together it felt like a cathedral in winter's stillness. There were no pigeons hooting or barn swallows swooping. It was too cold. There was but a stillness until we invaded in search of adventure.

Granted there are endless differences between Dr. Zhivago and that barn. There was never a handsome doctor with a beautiful woman dressed in fur arriving in a horse-drawn cutter outside the barn door. There were just little kids running and jumping in the snowdrifts. Little kids playing and pretending-turning that majestic barn into whatever they wished it to be-so I guess a handsome doctor with a beautiful woman dressed in fur arriving in a horse-drawn cutter outside the barn door very well could have happened! After all-the possibilities were endless.


  1. I enjoyed this very much. In fact, reading it gave me a chill. Dr. Zhivago was one of my favorite movies. This makes me want to see it again. Oh, I also enjoyed your last post. Both posts remind me of the big old barn on my grandparent's farm.

  2. I liked the book but loved the movie! Weren't we lucky to grow up with old barns to play in!