that he was about to leave the house for the last time. . . .
It gave him an odd, empty feeling to remember those times;
it was like remembering a younger brother whom he had lost."
~ J. K. Rowling ~
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 44
My sister Peg (scroll down for her comment on previous post) was wondering why I've been writing so much about moving lately: "Is this a coincidence or are you anticipating a move? Maybe it's just the empty nest feeling of the last of your boys moving out. Whatever it is, thanks so much for these posts and especially the pictures of your homes in Philly."
Well, I'm not going anywhere myself, but it is true that a few friends and neighbors have moved away recently, and also true that I often feel nostalgic for our historic homes in Philadelphia. And though I hadn't made this connection myself until Peg pointed it out, it's true that Sam is leaving the nest exactly one week from today to move into his campus dorm. Reading Peg's comment, I was reminded of the following passage from Meg Wolitzer's novel The Ten Year Nap, which perhaps contains the answer to Peg's query:
Children had a lot to do with it; they were the most fascinating part of it all, but mostly only to their own parents or, depending on the particular aspect, sometimes only to their mothers or only to their fathers. You stayed around your children as long as you could, inhaling the ambient gold shavings of their childhood, and at the last minute you tried to see them off into life and hoped that the little piece of time you'd given them was enough to prevent them from one day feeling lonely and afraid and hopeless. You wouldn't know the outcome for a long time (328).
Not to mention enough to prevent you from feeling those same things -- lonely, afraid, hopeless, old -- when they depart. The ambient gold shavings. In the corners, under the beds, atop the bookshelves, scattered throughout the old toy boxes . . . sweeping them up . . . feels almost like moving.
Thanks to Peg for making that connection! And in true sisterly fashion, she also read my mind, for even as she was submitting her comment, I was already putting together yet another blog post about moving day, this time featuring a poem that Sam wrote about his brother Ben and our transition, seven years ago, from Philadelphia to Indiana:
The barren house deserted and devoid,
The home depleted of its frills and friends.
The desolation of abode and boy,
Packed up and sent off to another place.
The home depleted of its frills and friends,
Who will replace the boy that loved her so?
The lonely house cries out; it wants to shout,
“Come Back, Come Back! I can’t be left like this!”
Who will replace the boy that loves her so?
The boy that laughed and cried within her walls,
Humming and thrumming through welcoming rooms,
Now stripped down to bare bones and skeleton.
The boy meanders far from all he loved.
The desolation of the house and boy
Like Tara and Scarlett, separate and sad,
Their barren hearts deserted and devoid.
by Sam McCartney, age 14
"The Desolation of Abode and Boy"
yesterday's new post on
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony