It can be seen, or maybe even more so sensed, in the barely noticeable details. The books resting on shelves, spines worn and tired from restless hands pressing their pages. Some have bookmarks where the reading stopped, others highlighted sentences that were read again and again preparing for some test. There are ticket stubs carefully tucked into the seams of a mirror, each one representing a new adventure, exciting moments shared with friends that gradually settle into a vast collection of past experiences. Pictures of those friends and of family lie everywhere, on dresser tops and the bedside table, on the desk and a chair. Each one tells the tale of time’s passage. Here she was an eager and smiling 3rd grader, suddenly there beginning high school, and just next to it a photo of her graduation. A family wedding, a first boyfriend, a best friend, siblings and cousins and travels, even parents! A picture board story, randomly organized, but conveying love and life, tears and laughter, things both bitter and sweet and everything in between.
Of course there are beloved stuffed animals, gently resting in place as they have now for years, patiently waiting for a living presence to return to their cozy dwelling. Somehow these loyal companions are now twenty years old, some older! They have weathered over the years, collecting dust and memories, representing time gone by. Some have names, others toil in obscurity, some faithfully comforting and snuggling, others tasked with simply watching events unfold, that age old job of witness.
Do not forget the bulletin board. Classic cork, heavy with hand written notes, with stickers and birthday cards and beads and even a feather is there, light and delicate, gently moving when the window opens to the world outside. Proud accomplishments are quietly displayed, reminders of past successes. Who knows what strict criteria must be met in order for an item to find its way to that board? It stands as a visual narrative of past events, of highlights and sweet memories that will forever be infused with the hope and heartache of youth.
These days the room is occupied less and less. High school graduation was followed by travel, then college in a distant northern town. Summer jobs away at camp, visiting with friends in the big city, the incredible hustle and bustle of a busy young life. Before long she’ll have another home, another room where new pictures will accumulate, where a strangely empty bulletin board will hang, ’til it also begins to fill with memories. But the old room will always exist, permanently engraved on heart and mind, its tapestry of the past informing the future, the starry nights and sunrises yet to be seen, the winter storms and warm springs that lie ahead.