Last spring we moved to a new neighborhood, and I love it. The neighbors are quiet, and every morning I spend a few minutes with them during my daily walk.
We live next to a cemetery.
I know, a lot of folks don’t like cemeteries — they have visions of Halloweens past, I suppose — but the reality of a cemetery is really quite wonderful.
To anyone who has an interest in local history — like me — a cemetery is a primary resource.
It’s an open book of the people and the families who built this area. Many of the names are readily identifiable, because the families still live in the area.
But it’s more than that. Each day, it seems, someone — a friend or family member — leaves a remembrance at a grave.
A tiny, plastic windmill spins happily in the breeze, a model airplane prepares for takeoff. On a beautiful summer day, the cemetery is alive with such tributes.
They tell stories, too. Like the stuffed gorilla that was left at the grave of a young boy. I can just see him enjoying it, maybe not physically, but in another very real way.
Flowers are left at the grave of a mother. What mother wouldn’t like that?
Occasionally, I run into folks who are visiting the cemetery.
Often they come in twos, a bouquet or balloons in hand. And memories in their hearts.
I know, you’re thinking that I’ve finally blown a gasket. Who on earth could say such things about a graveyard? That’s a good question.
Though the worldly remains are there, the fact that each one of these people lived and loved and built a community cannot be forgotten. In that respect, we should pay tribute to each one.
The only time I feel bad is when I see a tiny grave. A baby, a little boy or girl, laid to rest at such as early age breaks my heart. All I can think is that they didn’t have a chance to breathe the deepness of life that an old guy like me has. And I really wish they could. I wish they could grow up strong and bright as a penny, fall in love and raise a family. Nothing — nothing — can beat that. It is a blessing beyond words.
You could have all the money in the world, but without that you would still be a pauper.
The other day I walked past the cemetery. A solitary figure kneeled next to a new grave. He was there a long time, remembering all that was good and right about their relationship.
I wanted to tell him that it was OK. This really was not the end, because she will live forever in his heart and in the hearts of their children.
On the Fourth of July, we went to the cemetery to watch the fireworks. Because of its perch on a hill, it’s the perfect spot to the see the flashing lights streak across the sky.
As I stood there watching, I could almost hear a voice saying, “Thanks for the show.”
“No, thank you for all that you have done,” I thought, but did not say.