( in memoriam, Dot Shroeder )
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Not in this neck of the woods
not at this time of year, just before Halloween, Jesus,Mary&Joseph, and saints preserve us,
"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters;"
where even the hallowed grounds of the dead are festooned with pumpkins, scarecrows,
sagging American flags, faded artificial flowers next to cheery chrysanthemums,
solar angel night lights.
It's a shame; it's an outrage
that signs must be posted, among those resting or not in peace,
to clean up after your defecating dogs.
"Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...he restoreth my soul."
Living within close distance of four graveyards, I have come to have favorite places, favorite inscriptions,
so I take a million photographs, sometimes just inside my head, to remember that
someone buried here lived and loved, was loved and died.
Call it morbid, but I'm especially drawn to markers of those who served in the military,
young deaths, tombstones with elaborate laser etched images of the deceased, Masonic and
Star of David symbols, quotes from the Bible, quotes from the dead person,
Hangul and Chinese characters, neglected graves, graves of families wiped out by the 1918 influenza epidemic,
two twenty year old Civil War brothers,
side-by-side in the Protestant section of a Roman Catholic cemetery.
"I will fear no evil."
Ruby J. Cool was a beloved daughter, born in 1939 and died in 2002,
but what were the details, the ups and downs of her life?
Only yesterday did I realize I wander there, not for the exercise, but for the potential stories
buried beneath my feet like pirates' treasure.
quoted phrases from Psalm 23, KJV