Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Unexpected Calm

We have been visiting alot of cemeteries lately with the letterboxing and geocaching. I have been trying to reflect on how I feel about this.

When I was young, I used to hold my breath as I passed, after being told you can become possessed by breathing in the dead. I saw many a horror film take place in a haunted graveyard, grey stones jutting out against a black sky.

As I grew older, my superstition was replaced by an analytical rationality. I thought the world should be for the living, not for the dead, and these graveyards were a sort of indulgence by human beings just wanting to live on past their time here.

And yet, now, when I walk through these old and preserved places, an unexpected calm and peace come over me.

And an unexpected realization. These places are for the living. They are public spaces just as much as any park. Except there are no blaring colors and metal jungles here. There is quiet, and trees, and grass, and flowers, and bits of fabric from silk flowers long worn out, and a toppled vase here or there. There are words of sorrow, hope, and love chiseled in granite.

And there is the voice of the past. As I walk through the stones, some readable, some so worn they now only look like stone, I can hear the stories of human kind being told. Stories of husbands lost to war, of children lost too soon, of men and women grown old, of generations upon generations of people who so loved this land in Parker County that mother, father, daughter, son, grandmother, grandfather, and on and on, all chose it as the home they wished to finally return.

As I walk through, it is never so apparent to me that one day I will lie again in the earth, that my time here is a gift that should not be badly spent in annoyance, weariness, or anger. Life is short no matter how long it may sometimes give the illusion of being. And with this experience of the value of my time here comes a calm that allows me to weather torrents that would normally wear me down.

And there is a comfort that comes with knowing that even when I am gone, perhaps my bones underneath a granite stone, there will still be people walking above.

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