Ancestors Pt. 2
You are everyone’s grandson.
Cemeteries are a farmer’s final field. Nothing grows here except for time. Time and its tiny flowers that bloom every season. Yet people only come to harvest when their calendars indicate a year has passed. Family members, draped in their blacks and their veils, coast along these vast fields in search of someone they recognize. Coming with their baskets, they proceed to their annual plot to harvest the flowers of time, to sow new ones, and water the loved one’s plot with their tears—sometimes from joy, sometimes from remorse, sometimes from isolation. Before leaving some may say, “bless you,” others, “damn you for this.” Given enough time has been harvested from the graves, people tend to change their mind about what they have say. The families leave with a heavy yield strapped to their back. In their baskets however is only the sense of depth and distance it has been since their beloved have left them on this earth.
In my lifetime, I cannot think of a time when someone near me past. Time has been pasting, but I’ve been carefree about it and carry no flowers that may slow me down. I think this explains why I tend to drift rather than walk. Regardless, I still visit cemeteries regularly. A cemetery can be a meeting place. There is so much laughter and conversation, but only spoken no louder than a gentle November breeze. There is so much comfort in a place that is inherently quiet and still, and when searching, there is no body around to remove you from the space in your head.
After entering the gates, a road still makes a meaningful path for me. The grass perks up from its curled dried up state as I walk slowly past the headstones, reading the various names, finding ones with birthdays close to mine, wondering how similar of a being they were to me. The flags and flowers call you over. At a cemetery, finding a place to sit yourself is not a terribly hard decision. Unlike scoping out seats at a high school cafeteria, evaluating your invitation or its availability by the judgmental eyes of a cliquey people.
As I sat, finding the oak trees stoic against the breeze that runs along my face, the place is silent. There are birds, but they move without sound, without disturbing the dead. The mind fades into something within the landscape, before the feeling of a stir in the air. Illuminated souls so curious and so animated at the possibility to speak and interact with the living, out from their tombs and burial sites, come the spirits of the cemetery. It feels as if people are carrying over chairs to greet and chat with you. The hands of the dead bring up water from the roots, even inviting the tree to “come down and speak with this child.” I could imagine their smiles from before, lips turned up in a mess of wrinkles like crumpled Christmas wrapping paper. Skin dulled by the hells of living, still manage to glow in an abundant warmth.
Here, you’re everyone’s grandson, at least when willing to listen while lying in the a grass between carved marble headstones. As the sun draped jeweled, ember light over the field the air grew cold. Gripping my arms to keep my heat, a second stir about me of the souls scrambling to find blankets for me. So badly did they want to produce something warm for me, but their incorporal bones no longer held any possessions, let alone any means to this earth. Their eyes looked upset, but I smiled at their helplessness, enlviing their dim flame up again.
I do not know a single name, but there is no need for that. Their presence is enough, for me at least. And, when it comes to interacting with the spritis, they no longer are antonymous entities, but a mass. I imagine, that once a body is buried and its casket it cracked open by the weight of earth, the corpse vulnerable to the hands and works of its Mother, the soul has nothing left to worry or long for. In ease it meets the spirit again by simple drifting down stream, becoming not just the water, but the river.
But why do they share their time with me? Perhaps, that when coming to a cemetery with the intent to listen, the spirits their will share so much. There is no gossip, nor secrets; in fact, I don’t say a word and neither do they. Yet immersed in a conversation at the cemetery leaves me in such a rich conversation. I am not like the ones draped in black, carrying their harvest baskets filled with time. In these experiences, I walk away with something different. Much like when leaving a family reunion, or an assembly of inspiring minds, I leave with my soul feeling a sense of assurance and wholeness, that my mind simple cannot understand. My soul giggles to itself all the way home about something the mind will never know.