This is the bay window at the abandoned Livingstone Stephens house near Bracebridge. This one was a tough one, technically – for its complicated interior architecture; emotionally because these old places I have come to know have touched me; and due to ‘life’ around the timing that the idea came, including a grandparent’s passing. The chair I originally photographed was brown, but, I felt it needed to be red. I am not entirely sure why at the moment, but, it wasn’t simply an aesthetic choice. Eventually, I am sure I will fully understand. Time has a way of letting things reveal themselves.
It is in this room that 90 year old Elva (Stephens) Bowes’ grandfather spent his last days. I like to think that he spent time sitting in front of the windows in this room, watching life on the farm go by. I imagine the windows open, bringing in the last of a long ago summer breeze. Perhaps the room had those gauzy curtains gently drifting and the rustle of leaves is the only noise in a house, that in Elva’s grandfather’s time, was without the hum of electricity.The old man sits quietly, waiting for the family to come in from the fields.
Now, the chair is empty, waiting for someone to return. Little by little the house disintegrates further like water into the fissures of stone. Nearly, 120 years after the first brick was laid, it may only be a short few years before the integrity of the roof is lost and water will seep into its many cracks. The home of a big and active family, the home built by the tragic character that found gold in Muskoka and lost his love to drink, will pass into history.
For now it waits.