Today was one of our first Spring days. It warmed to above plus ten, and in the late afternoon the clouds came apart into pieces that soon dissipated, leaving the day suddenly and unexpectedly bright.
Equinox is less than a week away. The patios are about to explode into life.
My bike will be out tomorrow for the first time this year.
And Mt. Pleasant is the first cemetery I ever came to love. I lived three blocks away for nine years and it became a favorite place to walk, and later on, when I began to take back my body, it was the first place I jogged in almost a decade.
It feels wide and open for the city - spacious and well tended, curved and rolling, inviting in the sky. And it’s also the place at-long-last teaching me the names of trees, because each of its dozens of varieties are tagged with its name, both latinate and anglicized.
It’s a peaceful place. Not morbid or depressing at all. Restful, reassuring. I never connected a sense of peace or of wellbeing with burials until I came to know this place. This place has taught me the reasonableness of a common ground for the dead and the living to meet, in memory, thanks, longing and grief, for yesterdays to be measured against now, for the reshaping of histories and relationships outside of the tyranny of time.
I happened to be passing, just when my long, complex and emotional day had worked itself through, and I steered the car in along a path, then slowed and parked. Eventually, I went to where I knew I’d find my name engraved in stone, in deep and clean block letters.
Not relatives of mine, that I know of. Just the sharing of a name. No, not morbid at all... Anchoring. Seeing it raises a smile to my lips. I imagine myself on both sides of the impassable border, and the gift glows warm inside me, balanced with that other gift I can only imagine.
And then, the rest of the inscription, in squat, even letters.
What it says is:
In loving memory of
1833 – 1915
MARY ELLIS HIS WIFE
1842 – 1914
EDWARD CHRISTOPHER THEIR SON
1868 - 1932
DAISY ELIZABETH THEIR DAUGHTER
1877 – 1935
LILLIAN MARY THEIR DAUGHTER
1874 - 1946
So much story in so few lines.