I can walk right up those steps and in through the back door because I know my family will be there, excited to see me, waiting for me. I don’t live here anymore, but the love is there, under the heavy oak trees and behind those beautiful brick walls. It always has been and I have always considered this place to be a “home,” even though to be perfectly honest, my time there was minimal. Physically I spent almost two years in this dwelling, but mentally I was elsewhere, starting to understand and experience the swirling and whirring of  a mind unsettled.

But this house was always perfect, from the first time I stepped inside on a sunny fall day. It seemed to glow from all angles thanks to the bold yellows, bright reds and orange hues that painted the branches above. “I want my own tree here, one day,” I thought, and eventually a stunning redbud took root by the driveway. The sweet little sapling is now an enormous tree; to look at it is to time travel, for I have not experienced its gradual growth, only had the chance to see it at intervals.

If I had known that last spring was the last time that I would see it bloom, I would have paid more attention.

I find the minimalist lifestyle interesting, but I also want to take the tangible with me, because after me, who is there? I am the period to a sentence that currently still has an elipses, but that is not certain either. This may be where it all ends. It is always important to remember the past, but it is also unnecessary to physically take everything with you; if there was a fire, I know the two pictures I would grab along with a stuffed animal, my laptop and my passport. Perhaps that seems childishly nostalgic, but these things are significant.

They said the ancient Egyptians were buried with their most beloved possessions, and I’ve never felt the urge to hug electronics.

As for the house, I want to hold it and embrace it. It symbolises the last vestiges of my past, one that I cannot touch or bring with me should a natural disaster occur. It’s a marker of another life, one that feels as if it is coming to an end, but that’s not technically true; my mind is playing tricks on me. Closing the door for one last time marks a passage, and the handle slips from my grasp and the screen door swings shut.

These are things you can’t take with you, these are things that cease to exist, except in the ether. And that will have to suffice, no matter what the heart or nostalgia beg for.

4 thoughts on “What you can’t take with you

  1. My heart and my mind are so full and so moved and so proud and so…ineffably trying to verbalize non-verbal realities of your blog. All I can verbalize is my admiration and awe and pride that you have vebalized how and why you are the child of my heart.


  2. This is the best and most expressive, proficient, tangibly talented thing you have ever written. Anne Shirley could not have said it better.


  3. I love you so much. It just came out after why I thought about how full my heart was and the fact that everyting is so bittersweet right now.
    But you can’t take it with you. You can’t take anything with you, and that is the eternal struggle. But it is all inside.


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