Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Ball Gown and a Cemetery in Autumn

O Aspen leaves, how I love you. 
Your splashy yellows and sparkling golds are the ball gown of a Colorado autumn.

(You have grown on me, as I can't say you compare to the glorious colors in the east during these weeks of the year.  But I liken this comparison to apples and oranges, and I shall agree to love you differently.  Because you really are quite beautiful.)

The last two Saturdays, we have driven into the mountains to see the fall canvas of colors.  I'm telling you, this is an autumn favorite of mine.

(Plus, I never, ever tire of a road trip that involves a recipe of: 1) a great playlist, 2) someone else as the primary driver, 3) stellar company, 4) a good book and a sweet mocha in my hands, 5) sweet and salty snacks, 6) a DVD player and headphones for my children.  I realize that's a tall order.  But strike the right concoction, and I'm in for the long haul.

And I have the bladder of a teacher (trained to go only twice a day), and this makes me a delightful companion.  I hardly ever need to stop.  :)

The second Saturday, we took a wrong turn that landed us in the most glorious accidental destination: a 150-year-old cemetery.

I love cemeteries.  It's a different facet of people-watching.  Each tombstone offers a story: dates, names, seasons, titles, epitaphs.  And the clusters of them together paint pictures of families.  I could explore forever, connecting their dots, imagining who they were.

I read about a woman listed only as 'mother,' and she was 18 when she died.

I read about a 'world's woodmen,' his tombstone depicted in a marble tree trunk.  He was 26.

I found stones with only initials.  I wondered why there was so little to record.

I sat among the stones of a family who lost three children in the winters of 1868, 1873, and 1875.

Underneath one man's name, I read the word 'killed.'  His family chose for there to be no mistake, ever.

I read about a baby who lived for six days, and they didn't offer his name.  But I bet he had one.  Somebody called him by something, someday.

I have never left a cemetery because I was ready.  I left because it was time to go.

The space is sacred to those who know these people.  I tread carefully.  Perhaps this is morbid to some, this comfort I have.  I have been fascinated my entire life, and now I am keenly aware that this journey isn't forever.

Someone - anyone - loved each of these people.  And that's a story I want to hear.


Costales Family said...

I love cemeteries. I love the history, love and family that they represent. They are beautiful and sacred places. I could walk through and read every stone. I always thought I was weird for feeling this way. You are an amazing woman. It is an honor to share your journey through your blog. God bless!

stephanie garcia said...

I share this fascination, much to my children's confusion (they are still too young to understand why Mommy wants to stop the car and walk among unexpected graveyards out in the middle of our desert!) But, I am drawn to the untold stories.

Leash said...

I just spent last weekend walking through a cemetery with my best friends. We too, loved seeing the history of the place. Tricia, I think you would fit right in with us for this and many other reasons.

Kay Day said...

I love cemeteries, too. Especially old ones. I once explored one outside of Boston. So many Abigials, Hezikiahs, and other old names.
I've seen the woodmen stones before, too. So I just googled it. Woodmen of the World was an insurance company. Hmmm. Who knew? I figured they were lumberjacks.

Maegan said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one with a fascination of graveyards! I love to be reminded that we are but vapors, a mist! I love knowing I'll see my dad again soon, that someone will one day be reading my headstone and wondering about my life on earth, knowing this earth is not our home and I'm only traveling through! Graveyards revive my hope!

Megan said...

I'm with you... I leave when I have to, not cause I want to.

Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing them!

Think of you often and pray for strength.

LeahRochelle said...

Beautiful story and beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing...

LeahRochelle said...

Beautiful story and beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Benschoter said...

I could spend days in Arlington National Cemetery, its like what you described but with the addition of heroic sacrifice. The stories of each life lived, the service rendered, and sacrifices made for the freedom we have.