Life Before Now

        I have just returned from a  journey to the bewildering landscape that was my youth. Each time I go there I end up slightly off balance. Things that were large or small have traded places, things once crisp are now softened with age, and those who once peopled the scene are now gone and in their absence are empty spaces. It is like a puzzle with missing pieces that will never show a complete scene again. I turn and turn again looking for the familiar in an attempt to anchor myself, yet there is a dreamlike quality to the place that doesn’t allow me to. The houses of friends are occupied by strangers, the fields covered by new houses the map of my childhood has changed just enough to be disconcerting to travel. My room is the same except for the furniture that has migrated with me to a different locale, the same morning sun spills in and then out again, yet it falls on surfaces that are now worn. There is a faded quality to the place that makes it feel as if I am in an old photo, slightly out of focus and dimmed with time. The enjoyment of a visit is tempered with the melancholy knowledge that one day I will visit here for a final time and then no more. There will be a last time I walk those rooms before pulling the door shut and turning the house over to the next phase in its history. In the 200+ years the house has stood it will only be the 4th or 5th time the key has gone to new owners, until then the house will breathe slowly and evenly passing the days.

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