I visited Lee, Massachusetts today and found myself in the Fairmount Cemetery. It’s an old graveyard, with sections of leaning, faded granite slabs, many greened with lichen. Names and dates you’d need a rubbing to read.
Other, newer sections were populated with obelisks and polished slabs.
I walked among the gravestones and the air was cold and occasionally the sun peeked out and I turned toward it to stop shivering. I wasn’t moving enough. I kept stopping to look at graves.
Cemeteries beckon me. Residing within them is the peace that accompanies finality and some of that peace infuses me. Contrast that with the all-around-you reminder: life is short, to dust you shall return. I find that a useful nudge.
I’ve had some special experiences in cemeteries. I got engaged in a cemetery in Williamstown on a perfect New England autumn afternoon when the world was spectacular. Once, in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, when I was visiting the lake where my mother’s ashes are spread, I was sure I saw a ghost, not of my mother, but of another woman.
Today I had an experience as well. I was with my friend Jim and we passed a sparsely populated section with only a few small gravemarkers and he said maybe this is the children’s section.
I stood still for a long while. I’m mourning a child right now who recently died. A child, a baby, an infant, a newborn. A beautiful person named Ezra born to a beautiful family I love very much.