I walk down the road, turn to the right, and keep going until I wander into the decaying cemetery. Passing by the worn stone markers, the past calls me. I imagine the once living, feel their lives pull on my sweater, read their names, see dead flowers in pots and remembrances left to weather.
Time’s emptiness fills the area, interrupted by the impertinent truth that we never believe our days will end etched in smooth obsidian or worn granite: life marked by a name, two dates, sometimes a word or two.
I walk beside the motionless bones, still tongues, silent histories, interred stories once colored by memory’s palette, to enter a path hidden by tall grasses, leading to the lake.
I follow the path a mile or so. Wet autumn leaves stick to my sneakers. Maroon and yellow, remnants of spring’s green cling to my soles during my walk to the water’s edge.
I sit. Quiet everywhere. Clouds hang dense and low, they imperceptibly merge into the hills’ afternoon mists, a soft blanket insulating the day’s sounds,
except for a crows’ caw, and an unfamiliar melodic, staccato song.
A lone hawk flies overhead.
From beyond the hills, a small flock of wild geese fly in toward the lake, they yell in noisy abandon, skim the water’s surface, and then fly away, following their ancient route, a journey as old as the mountains, older than the trees. A ritual older than worn gravestones, written in avian blood.
I sit. Quiet, again.
I look over the lake, and the circle of surrounding hills. Trees vibrant with death’s nearness take on magenta, gold, amber, red, orange, colors paint-like dappled over the rolling hills, as though a sleeping giant emerged during twilight, and with an over-sized brush, colored his canvas in flaming magnificence, in a glowing display of grandiosity and vainglory, knowing the show days are few. I close my eyes. My breath and body now fully live, oozing out of me into water, earth, air, crow caw.
In death I live.
Death surrounds me in splendor.
I sit and breathe.
I am lake, mountains, clouds, trees,
and a flock of geese, whose ancient blood
carries me beyond stone memorials
and into glory.