The Empty Ruin

This past weekend I went back to Colorado. I had a quiet hour to myself and took a walk to photograph the place I used to live. So here are some pieces of it covered in a Maytime snow. Here is a tiny sliver of it. There are things I can't commit to a photograph. The delicate crunching of ice atop a snowbank. The crisp air with it's shifting patterns and thick snowflakes. The way I chomp through the grass and the red gravel roads, past the no trespassing sign, down the makeshift steps to the river. The way I come upon my old hiding place to find it changed. It feels both smaller and bigger–a place I can't inhabit. 

When this was my home, I was growing and filled with desire, worry, sadness, and hate. So much hate. I feel small coming back to this shell of my former self--who was so flawed, but ultimately felt things much bigger, sometimes. I can't imagine such a flurry of emotions every fitting inside me now. (But I guess that's puberty for you.) Now I am much quieter in my ways. I am content and though my emotions take up less space, they run deeper. 

It's going home that throws me. Trying to fit back into that shell. Feeling small inside of it. My past is a huge empty cavern that used to be filled, and now I am a tiny frail wisp of a girl inside it. There are sweet things there–happy memories and places that I want to visit. Small things, like the familiar turn of the road, the sound of my darkened house, the view from the living room window. There are people too, the only points of gravity holding me there, my brother and my parents. But still every visit I'm just wandering this empty cavern, trying to fit inside it. Trying to take up the space, and failing. So what do you do? 

Overlay these empty spaces with the full ones. Try and try and try and try to remember. What it was like to be here, to be twelve, thirteen, fifteen, eighteen. Try to learn something from your boxes of old journals. To accept growth. To string lines from this life to the next. And as always, photograph the empty ruin. 

May 2014

by Brittany Chavez