Last Days of Chez Nous

I’m not much of a photographer and I didn’t take the photograph on the right. I like the image because it captures a little of that strange sense of dislocation, of things not being where they should, of the last days of packing all our possessions into storage.

I don’t have a photograph of the final image of leaving our home to head off on a year of travel. In a way, that moment is more deeply inscribed on my memory than any picture could ever be. It was just after 7.00 am last Friday morning. Our lovely goddaughter, Jocelyn, had come to say goodbye. Together we tip-toed across the freshly steam-cleaned carpet, through the empty, echoing house. The rooms glowed in the soft, early morning light. The house seemed enormous, stripped of all the clutter of our lives.

Joc was amazed that in just a few weeks so much had changed. Then she shared exciting news about her plans for the year ahead. All of a sudden I felt alarmed that although we will eventually come back to the same house, so much will happen while we’re away. Children will grow older, babies will be born, lives will change. Life changes whether you try and hurry it along by setting out on adventures, or whether you stay in the same, familiar place. Maybe you can simply see the changes more clearly when you don’t have a fixed base. A few days into our adventure, and I can feel a subtle shift in the way I’m thinking about many things. Change is the only constant.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Every adult was once a child and the child inside them never disappears.”

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