Tuesday, November 22, 2005

dancing on the graves

Last week my partner and our son Gabe went to the coast to distribute the political newspaper we put out each month from the midst of our bookstore. Trips to the coast are always a treat for me; I put aside, during the normal weeks and months, my love of the ocean I so rarely see, but when I am within range, when the first salt tang of the air hits my lungs, I smile and smile.
It was a brilliantly clear autumn day; not a trace of fog as we came over the forested hills and slid into one of the tiny almost-not-there-at-all towns. There, on the roadside, is an old cemetary. For the decades I have lived here I have imagined stopping there, going through the big wooden gate, entering the square above the sea ringed with a dazzling picket fence. I mentioned my fantasy to P. He turned the car around and pulled over on the dirt--why not stop now? This is uncharacteristic of my love, who usually plunges straight ahead on task, and I was delighted.
We opened the gate and went in.
Salt air had worn away many of the inscriptions on the marble and granite stones, but some of the fancier monuments still stood. A lot of simple wooden markers, names long gone, leaned this way and that on the bright green grass. A few late dandelions marked an unknown grave with bright yellow flowers.
We read some of the names--the ones that could be read--to Gabriel as he danced about, happy in the warm air.
He found a few favorites and leaned down, pressing his ear to the ground. "Not talking much" he informed us.
And then he reached out his hands and told the people to get up, come on, be alive. He tried it a few times, then shook his head "Not working" he said.
We went to talk with the goats who were watching us from the yard nearby, and Gabe continued his joyful dance from grave to grave.
I took a few rose cuttings from an old rose, a prickly, glossy leafed rose that had totally engulfed the gravesite of a woman whose name was Elise, who had died long long ago. I didn't think she'd mind, and the little bright pink flowers were so enticing. Maybe it will take root in the parking lot garden--it seems very willing to do so.
The ocean was very blue, and glittering with sun sparkles. "We alive" said Gabe. Yes, yes we are.


Blogger Dr O2 said...

very beautiful of a description.

One day there'll be people walking above the way we shall lye...

10:18 AM, November 23, 2005  
Blogger Kimia said...

I felt every sentence and I loved the day you've had :D
I live close to ocean, but here is cold and wind wouldn't like to give us(me and the ocean) a second.

7:16 AM, November 24, 2005  
Blogger David said...

I think that many of us could learn a lesson from Gabe. With all the things that people have to occupy their time and their thoughts, it is easy to forget the simple joy of just being alive! I hope that the rose cuttings will grow in your garden, and that you had a very Happy Thanksgiving! :)

11:02 PM, November 24, 2005  
Blogger Rhianne said...

Wow! Thanks for dropping in my Blog! I'm into writing too, any tips?

12:17 AM, November 25, 2005  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

I liked that: lots of gusto, one of my favorite elements. Gusto and graves and small children playing go so well together.

No wonder the lost sheep in the velvet dress came looking for you...

7:35 PM, November 27, 2005  

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