Note: I wrote this post shortly after we got home from our Thanksgiving trip to Iowa. Some reason I never got it finished, but it seemed fitting for a day like today. Today is our precious Mason's birthday, that little miracle we had far too little time with a year ago. Happy Birthday Mason. We miss you.
While death has always freaked me out a little, graveyards have always fascinated me. I'm not talking about the modern day cemetery where all the stones lie flat slightly below the level of the grass so the groundskeeper can ride his mower right over the top and not have to trim around anything. I'm talking about the old fashioned graveyard where monuments were erected to honor the memory of loved ones gone to their rest. And the older the better, you know, where moss covers the letters that have been so beaten by the wind and rain that they are nearly smooth and frequently undecipherable. The place where the loved ones who buried the ones below have been long buried themselves and probable even the ones who buried them. Yeah, those kinds of graveyards.
I don't know why. Maybe my fancy started in my childhood with "Anne of the Island" at her first year of college when she lives across the street from just such a graveyard. She and her friends walk and talk and play and study there. Or in "Anne of Windy Poplars" when she walks in the graveyard with Miss Valentine, who tells her all the funny, creepy, sad, and dreadful stories behind all the stones there. Graveyards just seem to me to be a peaceful, melancholy place of wonder where stands the last testament of a family's love to a soul long departed. Not to mention that it's a tangible reminder that time is short, and even the memories of my life won't last any longer than the lives of those who know me. This is the little life, the big life is yet to come.
On our drive through the Iowa countryside last week I was thrilled when the very first thing we happened upon (thanks to my husband's keen eyesight and understanding of things that make me tick) was a small (12'x12') family plot at the back of an anonymous farm. It was so old all that was left of the fence were stumps of the posts. I highly doubt there was grass under all the fallen leaves, it was just a forgotten corner on a piece of land, but once upon a time someone cried there over a lost baby, and a mother and father who passed within months of each other.
Somewhere amidst the red barns and windmills, after saying "Farewell" to our friend Trey, we found a little church plot that had been there forever. It was a mixture of old and new, of course, my fetish is with the old. It's no wonder I filled up that 2GB, huh? The day was gray and cloudy and drizzly. It would have been the perfect day for a funeral on the grassy hillside. It was a perfect day to wander through the graves, reading them, snapping pictures, and contemplating life.
A grave day.