Cemeteries, Memories, Making Peace

Pete’s picture of a “field of memories” brings up so many emotions.

Some of them are sad, but none of them are bad.

I have such a curious relationship with cemeteries. They are such rich mines of history. Yet no one will know the life and times of my family, because there are no markers. We have disappeared into the streams and the mountains of the land we claim(ed) as home.

And it’s true that except for two children, this branch of the Evans family ends with the next generation. So, the history component of cemeteries will never be too important…

But I find cemeteries fascinating. In pre-vaccination days, you could see when a plague swept through a village, by looking at tombstones. You can feel the connections that people have with their beloved dead. Even in the most complex situations, death brings a certain kind of Peace, if only for those who have died.

And cemeteries are often on such beautiful land, spots high above a town or a river are often chosen as burial grounds. One man I know is buried in just about the exact spot that he took his most iconic picture. He visited those grounds all throughout his lifetime because there were things to see there. It’s nice to think of him there. We tend our dead carefully, so they are usually beautiful.

When I look at this pic, I feel the cemetery’s history and its Peace. The dead are such Peaceful neighbors, quiet and calm. There’s so much that could be said about them, but today, all i have to talk about is the Peace. Inhale. Exhale. Peace.


Everyday Peace Challenges

Peace isn’t something you pull out the cash for and buy in one fell swoop. It’s something you put a down-payment on and you pay as you go, every day, every day. Some things will change. Some things you just have to work around. Some things you have to work darned hard at. And so it goes.

This was a tough weekend. I’d put this work off for the whole winter. After going through an immense amount of stuff to fit Deb’s stuff into my life, I reached an end to what I could deal with and still remain sane. It was a lot. There were only about 6 boxes out on the winterized porch. I’ll deal with them in the Spring I said. That was after I’d started to look at the pictures from Deb’s family’s life. I couldn’t see the happy ones. I couldn’t bear the missing members, more and more and more and more of them. Later. It was what I could do. No shame there.

But this chilly rainy weekend, the lure of preparing the porch for the return of the sun, outweighed my reluctance to confront the past. And so I sat and sorted. I learned a lot. I learned nothing at all. I remembered, with great searing clarity the turn of a head, the shape of a mouth, what their hair felt like in my fingers. I remembered some other things that weren’t so pretty. I remembered again that they were dead.

What I didn’t know now, I would never find out.

Not a lot more to say about that, is there?

But I know that that’s not all there is — or not everything isn’t anymore, or something. More of them will be like the death of a family — simply things that are. Others will be things that we will shape…

In the midst of my grieving, there is a sweet little porch. There’s more stuff to move, and more to sort through, but I can see what it wants to be again. Last year, I didn’t sit on the porch at all. I didn’t open it until September. I wasn’t here. And I couldn’t bring myself to care. But Summer comes again. And this year, by and large, those boxes and their contents are in the trash, in the recycling or in the cellar. If you’re the one who has to go through my house when I’m aged, I’ll label them. Don’t open them, just pitch them right out. Nothing to see here, just move along, that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone…

And some things will be things we encounter, things we are called to act upon. They may be big things, they may be little… but… much of the work we see is ours to do. Not all of it, but a good deal of it. We’re the ones to pick the fast food trash up from the alley. We’re the one who has to stop to see if someone needs our attention. We’re the ones who need to speak up (to the best of our ability) when we see something happening.

We make Peace. With what was and is no more. With what may become and needs our dreams. With what is and demands our attention and our care. It’s why we’re here. Everyday Peace, done every day.