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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dead Calm

Today I went to the cemetery. Before you grimace and assume that I attended a funeral or was in the throws of a depression, let me explain that it is situated near the library where I parked the car, and has the added advantage of sitting on a promontory overlooking what is called “Little Harbor.” Since the residents of this necropolis possess one of the most expansive views in town I laced up my sneakers and decided that today’s walk should include a detour there.

The area I explored is one of our community's oldest resting places. Weathered slate markers dating as far back as the 1700’s lean high above granite monoliths that grow and shrink in the tidal flats that pool below. Central Cemetery is carved out of grass tiers that step up from each other; leading to a beige stone Celtic cross towering at the top, erected in memory of immigrants from the brig St. John that foundered on ledge while carrying these pilgrims to a better life. Far below the cross coils a sheaf of shoreline etched with flattened marsh hay; the greening buds and tangled strands of sea heather. The sun heated the small gravestones edging the beach this morning; purple crocuses bloomed in bunches below veterans flags that lifted up on a hanging breeze. Today, the sea far beyond slept steel flat and cold and gusts blew damp, but spring erased the sting. Pebbles from the stone walk crunched as I wandered toward the road. On my way back to the library I swung my arms and eyeballed the forsythia preparing to burst in front of an antique cape along the way.

You may take issue with me strolling among the peaceful dead but the fact is that I did begin my walk low key in mood. The hike among them though--well, more than anything, it brought me back to life.

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