I know I’m not the only one. Sometimes I like to take a walk through a cemetery.
The first time, it was to take a closer look at some of the monuments. I expected to leave with lofty meditations on the nature of life and death, but it didn’t happen. My mind just doesn’t work that way. Instead, I focus on the pragmatic.
Some headstones are elaborate, others plain. Were they elaborate or plain lives? It occurs to me that the grave markers may say more about the people that erected them than about the people whose graves they mark.
I hazard guesses as to relationships, based on dates. So she must have been his daughter. This one is the grandson? How did he come to die at age 18 –- an illness, a young man’s belief that he was invincible?
A few small ones just say “Baby”. Either they didn’t live long enough to receive a name, or the carving of a name not needed was just too painful or expensive.
The gravestones I am the most interested in, the oldest, are the ones which have become the most damaged by the effects of wind, rain, sun, and ice. Still they stand, testament to a life lived even if the name is no longer legible. These are the ones that are most likely to have a verse or two, if it can still be read.
There seems to be a small funeral in progress over there. A few people dressed in black, hugging. A minister. Suddenly, laughter breaks out among them. It’s an improbable sound in such a quiet place. The deceased would probably like that, might even be joining in somewhere.
Another improbable sound: the tinkling of windchimes from one of the graves. My mind shifts to how I want my grave. With windchimes, definitely. And a bird feeder. And a Japanese maple for a little shade. Things that say “<shrug> Life goes on.”
A walk through a cemetery might make a good first date. You’d certainly get to know someone that way. Religious? Eccentric? Religious eccentric?
I straighten a few vases that have fallen over in the wind, and head back to the car. There are hundreds of lives here. I am no wiser in life’s mysteries, but, oh, the stories these people could no doubt tell.