Morning Walks Past an Empty House

For at least a year, I've watched the empty house, as slowly, slowly, its long-neglected yard endured pruning. I'd grown used to bending beneath the overgrowth that protruded over the path I walked.

On weekends or on weeks off, someone worked. Tangled branches were lopped off, then bound like prisoners against escape, and laid on the curbside for pick-up.

I imagined equal time given to the inside rooms, an emptying of signs of a parent's lifetime, treasures uncovered amid messy piles of paper and cluttered drawers. There is no rushing such things.

I met the daughter once, as she worked in the yard for a week, I think her name was Pat, or Pam, maybe. I never saw her again, but I've admired her tireless and relentless commitment, judging by the progress steadily made. 

An electric light shining inside the house gives an occasional sign of her presence. Sometimes a lone light burning forgotten in the garage keeps sentinel watch.

One morning, though, as I pass the empty house, I see the eastern morning light pour in through drawn sheer drapes, as I imagine it doing for decade upon decade of Saturday morning cartoons, and countless breakfasts before children rushing off to school. 

"Soul echoes" remain in a space when people leave. It's what I see and feel as I pass by the empty house, with Christmas lights dangling long past the season celebrated.


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