my shoes ring on the cobblestone aisle that leads through the wrought iron gates of the city cemetery, then crunch on the freshly mulched path to the left winds through monuments to our city's history. a mammoth white column from the first baptist church, the old well cap, venus slowly oxidizing in teal, they, and many others, stand silent watch to the passage of time, to the coming and going of the living and the dead.
entering the children's section, i find the wooden swing hanging from the great tree gently rocking as if one of little spirits is taking a final turn to reach the sky. i sit, begging their pardon as i take their place. i come here for peace, and this section is my favorite place among the acres of the dead. it is on the highest peak, overlooking the remaining area.
i pendulum forward and backward, the old ropes creak as they bite into the limb that supports us. tilly, a pixie bob cat, guardian of the cemetery, winds her way up the hill, past the koi pond and old chapel, to greet me. she will follow me, as she does with most visitors, anywhere i go within her domain. her cries are tender, providing what comfort she can.
on the next hill, in the newer part of the cemetery, one grave catches my eye, seeming draped in color. tilly and i meander in that direction, through the tight packed regiments of identical marble tombstones where the civil war soldiers lay. as we draw near, i stop in the shadows of an old oak, leaning against its strength to watch what we now realise is a woman.
she lay prostrate across the green grass below the head stone, twisting her fingers through it as if it were her lover's hair. she is talking, though i can only hear small caches of words. spreading herself across the whole of the plot, she embraces what can only be the one to whom she is speaking.
retrieving clippers from a canvas bag, she delicately trims and shapes the turf, with the same care and intimacy of shaving another. i feel like a peeping tom watching her love making with whatever spirit still haunts her, but my feet refuse to uproot from their position, or my eyes avert from their attention. with a spade she bites into the soil on each side of the stone, turning it so she can plant fresh flowers, adorning her love in living jewels.
she accentuates and feeds them with glittering diamonds of water from an old metal watering can, spilling the remains across her hands, rivulets running brown with soil of her labors. now clean, she presses her wet hands to her face, absorbing the cool of the water, though doing little to quench the passion that still coils within.
again she covers the hallow ground with herself, then rolls onto her back staring into the cloudless blue sky. the spell is broken, and i slip once more back the way i came. i have found my peace for the day, though i am not sure about her. i don't know whether to pity her loss and the chains that bind her to it or to be happy she has that anchor still in this world until they meet again
my shoes ring on the cobblestone aisle that leads out of the wrought iron gates of the city cemetery, back to the land of the living.
This is a Magpie Tale