When I was a kid I always romanticized the idea of running away and fending for myself; maybe living in the forest of finding an old broken home and making it my own.
I returned from an extended trip just recently and while I might not have been scavenging for food, or building huts out of rocks and fallen branches, I would often pull over to the abandoned houses that littered the rural highways and make myself at home. Id share my life temporarily with the animals who burrowed in decaying attics, and familiarize myself with the people who once lived there by looking through old photos and reading old handwritten letters that lay cluttered on the floor. I would sit on old porches and watch the sun set and find the cleanest bed inside to sleep on.
Their relatives left their journals, photos and mementos rotting for decades. A baby book hiding behind a dressed, more than a century old; a collection of pens strapped to the wall; a box of old postcards from a husband in Paris. I feel like piecing together their lives is a last effort to let their memories live on. I spent today visiting some of my favorite abandoned homes near me and it felt like visiting old friends