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As long as I can remember we visited the family farm once a month. It was a long drive across town, down a dirt road, to four brick houses situated in the middle of nowhere, a bit of civilization in what seemed to be fields that went on forever. Now those days are long past, the houses recently abandoned, and the last of the land up for sale to make way for warehouses.
As a drove up to the farm on a hot August morning the fog was covering the roads and fields. My Uncle Chan was leaving for an early errand and I was left on the property, completely alone, with my camera and a lifetime of memories. I had not returned here since my father died 14 years ago but nothing had changed.
As I walked around the big barn I began to see and notice what I had never realized in all my times here. The smells, the sounds, and the nostalgic feelings were all there, but the details of hundreds of still lifes unfolded around me. Each square foot of the barn was filled with actions frozen in time. A hammer left on a tiller, gloves on a spool of wire, a chain hanging from the rafters used to pull an engine, ropes and wires hanging on nails, the scale which weighed out countless boxes of Chinese produce which at one time were shipped out as far as Michigan and New York. All of these scenes were frozen in time, the dust settled over them, but the life in their arrangements only temporarily arrested.
I knew that it was my time to record these moments with my camera, for in a matter of weeks all of this would be gone, destroyed, and never to appear again. As an animal or plant goes into extinction, so too do these articles of a past time and life. My record would be the only one for the future should anyone want to know what it was like in the barn of the Wing Lee Yuen Truck Farm.