Countless vacant and abandoned houses are scattered over the American prairie and plains, headstones marking the passage of a rural way of life nearly gone as the face of agriculture has changed. Each house has stories to tell, imprinted in front porch wood, kitchen walls, or the stones of an empty hearth. A faded curtain moves in the breeze, and for a moment, murmuring voices are heard. In the arid southwest, homes carved into cliffside ledges mark the presence of an entire civilization. These Anasazi ruins speak of the passing of “The Ancient Ones,” a people whose origin and fate are unknown. Stories live here as well, told in voices so old they are part of the land itself. The Anasazi stone houses, empty now for about a thousand years, are likely to outlast the abandoned rural home of far newer vintage. When this prairie house is torn down or burned, what will become of its stories? Photos: Livingston County Illinois, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Apache County Arizona.
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