Four days in the country. I can never get over just how perfect the place I grew up is.
They put the year 2008 on the stone where my grandfather’s ashes are buried, marking the year his wife, Jane, passed. She’ll join him there forever in two weeks. My thoughts turned to what I was supposed to say to sum up her life when we have the memorial. I sat there under the shade of the giant willow that had been planted thirty one years ago with my older brother’s placenta. Such an obvious dichotomy of life and death was never lost on me, its power as a place of healing for the soul is unrivaled.
It’s grown so large and strong that I forget that his tree survived a terrible moth invasion that claimed mine, a sickly little cherry sapling. I’d never forgiven him or his tree until we put Pop there a few years back. Maybe I felt that the duty of standing sentinel over something so precious was not a job any tree of mine would have been able to do. Jonathan, though, in his never wavering steadfastness and reliable constitution would surely birth a tree that could keep watch long after we’d all gone. Maybe it will still cast shade over the place where our grandchildren sit in silence next to our own headstones. Our modest, informative headstones.
There’s a place just at the base of the tree where the moss has grown in the early summer to a pillow like consistency. If you’re not squeemish about dirt, you can lie there and look up at the sun. The stringy tendrils of leaves never let the sun break through enough to harm the eye. You could sleep there, I almost did.
Sitting there and thinking about the memorial, the final chapter in the history of two amazing people, I realized that this would be a place that we will always have, my family will always be here. Whether running through the grass, laughing and singing, or in the ground under the trees, packed quietly in indefinite one room apartments under stones etched with our names and the addresses of the time of our lives.
Rather, I think we’ll all be there simply in the air and in the telling of the stories of that place. Words and pictures that will need no paper, as they have found their home in the leaves and in the sunshine that they reflect. I wish I were there now.