Transcendental Journal: The Burned Down House


I just came home from a walk. Today I went to a burned down house. It was weird seeing only scraps and pieces left of it. Standing there I could still imagined the purple house that used to stand there. I remember the first time I saw the house. It was freshman year and I was with my dad. I remember driving pass the house everyday when I went to school and when I came back home. I kept on begging my dad to take me there someday, and he finally did. There were two floors to the house. I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. It looked exactly like what one would expect an abandoned house to look like. There was rubble everywhere, cups and bottles from parties that went on in the house. Upstairs was cleaner, except for inappropriate drawings on the wall. Typical college students. But now all of that was gone. Burned to the ground. I don’t even know how it happened. All I know was that it was there before I left for a choir tour, and gone when I got back. It’s strange how my mom (who notices everything) didn’t know the house burned down considering the house is only minutes away.

durhams-house-burnedI still drive past it everyday on the way to school, but today was the first time I really got to examine the rubble. The first thing I noticed was a line of bricks. It looked like it used to be a chimney. Everywhere I looked there was burned wood. Everything was black. How could something like this go unnoticed? Was it an accident? Or was it on purpose? Walking around the site, I realized the ground was softer whenever I walked on a burned area. Beside the house were pieces of a tree, but the strange thing is that the tree was cut down by a chainsaw. Why would someone cut down a tree next to a house that no longer existed? Looking at the rubble, I could still see traces of where the floor used to be. There was a hole in the floor caused by the fire, but there was nothing special under it. From what I could see it was mostly dirt and leaves with the occasional plastic water bottle. Then I noticed something strange. On the ground there was this strange material that look like it was made up of cobwebs, only the material was thicker than that. It certainly had the color of the cobweb. Based on the piece it was attached to, it made me believe that it was a remnant of a carpet. However, as I examined the ruins more, I saw more “cobwebs”. This time, they took the form of what soggy pieces of paper would look like. Looking back I still have no idea what they could’ve been. On the ground I could still see a piece of the roof that was still in tact. Most of the tiles were burned black, but the wood under it was preserved. Behind the house was a big metal cylinder thing. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it looked like some sort of rusted boiler? The most fascinating sight, however, was the tree next to the house. At first glance it looked like a normal tree. But after inspecting it some more I realized that half of the tree was burned. The half facing the house was completely black, but the side facing away from the house was untouched.

Walking through the remains of the house caused my heart to wonder. It is eerie to see that the house was completely destroyed. There must have been many memories made in that place. But now it is no more. It was depressing to be there. I remember how pretty it used to be. But now it is all burned and black and destroyed.

To me, the house was a good reminder that nothing lasts forever. Eventually everything must go. We all think that everything we see today will never go away. As a result, we are surprised and very sad when we see something we love disappear. It also was definitely a cool experience to have two memories of the same house. To remember it when it was still standing and to see it once it has fallen. Only the memories of that house will keep it alive in our minds.


2 responses »

  1. Nicole, you do a wonderful job of describing this, and taking us into your thought process as you walk through the rubble. I can almost ‘see’ what you’re talking about… and now I’m curious, too, about the strange cobweb-substance. It does sound kind of like the remains of some kind of carpet or floor-covering.

    Well done!

  2. Very well-written. I like your descriptions and observations. Its not flowery but its not boring if you know what I mean. I suppose you could just say that it’s honest. Anyway, your a great writer! It sounds beautiful. I would like to visit it some day…

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