And now the cleanup has begun. It is amazing what a bulldozer can do and how quickly it can do it. I’ve never been around demolition activity so this is a new experience, watching as debris that once was someone’s shelter is hauled away. There is a certain sense of loss watching burned remnants of a person’s life dumped in a container, no longer of use.
It’s not like I have or had an emotional attachment to the house or its owner. I’d never been in it until the owner had passed away and his family was there removing items they wanted to keep. But for 11 years I gazed on the house from my kitchen window and it gave me a certain sense of belonging. I watched birds build nests and raise young ones in the rafters of the home. I knew when the man left of a morning and when he returned in the afternoon. I wasn’t keeping track of him, but I became familiar with his habits. I don’t think I even realized I knew his patterns until his routine changed. His car didn’t leave the car port and I didn’t see him driving. He had gone to a nursing home.
His house and his activity provided a sense of time and place for me, and I missed seeing him. And now I miss the house. What happened to the birds? What’s going to fill the spot that is now a pile of rubble?
I’m all for change, and I know ‘this old house’ will be replaced, our feathered friends will find new nesting places, and I’ll have a new view out my kitchen window, but…today I grieve for what was there and the piece of history it represented. I grieve for the tears, the laughter, the memories, the mundane, the routine and the unusual the house and its occupants once shared.
The loss of the house reminds me when my grandmother left her home of many years, and the house was torn down. When I walk by that lot now I can’t even remember where exactly the house stood. Trees have grown taller, other buildings have encroached on the land. But nothing erases the memories of Grandmother sitting in her swing on the front porch reading her Bible as we played in her front yard laughing, running and playing.
Yes, the memories remain, even if the people and houses pass from our sight out my kitchen window.