I’ve always loved cemeteries. They are quiet places that seem to bring me such peace. At least for a few moments.Cemeteries are full of romantic folklore and fantasies about the souls attached to those grave markers. I like to let my mind wander and imagine my own bit of lore.
Typically, I walk/drive/ride around until I come upon a random grave site that catches my eye. Then I let my imagination go. It’s nice to let the real world and all of its woe melt away while I tell myself a story. I start by reading the gravestones nearby to see if it’s a family plot. This helps to set the scene.
Once I have some simple knowledge of the family or individual and the era they come from, I begin to weave an imaginary life for them in my head. I know it’s an odd thing to do. But for whatever reason, I feel the stress melt away for a while.
Often, I will write down the names and dates so that I can research the family or individual to see what their real life story was. I have discovered some fantastic story lines by doing this.
Another thing I’ll do, especially if it’s a particularly historic cemetery, is imagine what happens in the night when no one is here to watch. I picture the ghosts coming out and visiting with one another like an old neighborhood. I imagine the newly buried people interacting with the older ones as they answer questions about what has happened to the world.
But then I imagine the individual. You know the one. His family buried him in a faraway corner. But they have long since stopped visiting. His gravestone is broken, cracked and forgotten. There is a tree above his grave that is gnarled and near death. I imagine that ghost standing alone, isolated in his corner of the neighborhood. No one knows him or speaks to him. It’s been this way night after night for over 200 years. Nothing will change now. I particularly like those graves and wish to pay them a little bit of my time.
Or maybe there are no ghost gatherings. Maybe it’s just a lot of sleep. Time passing, blurring as it races toward the coming of Jesus Christ. Since they are dead, their eyes have closed. But in the twinkling of an eye, they will awaken to the sound of a trumpet. That twinkling of an eye seems eternal to us who yet live. But for those in the ground, they are a second from waking again.
So I love cemeteries. I am always filled with feelings of peace, sorrow, joy and envy as I sit and contemplate these souls. One day I’ll be one of these.
Maybe you can come contemplate me as I slumber through my own eye twinkling.