Pin It It is night.
Everyone is asleep, save me.
I gaze around my parents’ house, the familiar dimmed lamps burn through the darkness.
I sit; I look on.
As I do, I remember words penned many years ago by author Mary Downing-Hahn in her book, “Time for Andrew:”
The fire hissed and popped and sent a shower of sparks flying up the chimney. I leaned closer to my aunt. “Do you ever wonder about the people who used to live in this house?”
“What do you mean, Drew?”
“Well, so many of their belongings are here—things they touched, things they made. It just seems strange…” While I spoke I looked around the room, finding faded photographs on the mantel, a pair of china dolls sharing a child-sized rocking chair, shelves of old books. My voice trailed off. I wasn’t sure what I was trying to say.
Aunt Blythe ran one finger over the row of stitches she’d just finished. “Things last longer than people,” she said softly.
That was true, but that wasn’t what I meant. “The people, our ancestors—do you think they’re still here somehow?”
“Are we talking about ghosts?”
“Do you believe in them?”
Unlike some adults, Aunt Blythe took my question seriously. Leaning her head back, she stared into the fire and thought about her answer. “In an old house, the past is all around you,” she said slowly. “You hear sounds sometimes, even smell things. Superstitious people might call it the work of ghosts, but I think of them as echoes, little traces of the folks who once called this house home…”
It is quiet.
I listen to the echoes.