Old farmhouses and barns made of wood and stone in the mountain villages of southern Switzerland offer insight into how people lived long ago. While living in Valais, one old barn decorated with hundreds of small wooden shingles caught my attention. The small tiles had seen many years; the wood faded from the sun. Here and there, a piece was missing. The overall composition was beautiful. A group of missing tiles resulted in a square hole, a perfect entrance for birds and bats. In my imagination, a barn owl appeared, peeking out from its residence to watch the playful shadows of martins dancing on the barn wall in the late afternoon sun.