Monday, May 25, 2015

Memory lane

This week, the blog was overtaken by events.  Nothing got written, though we successfully rode out a stomach bug and a software malfunction, among other calamities.

All week, the kids ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  At some point, distracted, I threw out the jelly, or we ran out.  I can't remember.  Somewhere in there, pizza was ordered, consumed while standing up, and left out on the counter overnight -- to ripen and bloom, like a bottle of red -- before someone ate or threw out the rest of it. 

On Saturday, I took the children to the cemetery.  Not because it was Memorial Day weekend, just to get out of the house and turn my thoughts to something else -- the numberless dead, for example.  Since they were babies, I've done this once or twice a year, just for the fun of it.  At eight and six, they are almost past the cherubic stage that is so charming to see playing among the headstones.  I always thought, if I were dead, I'd like preschoolers tromping around, making too much noise and posing impertinent questions about the afterlife.

On this spring day, my son surveyed the cemetery with approval.  "This place is perfect for me," he said.  "Do you know why?"

This was a question I felt confident I could ace.  I knew him so well, after all. "Because there are Chinese people buried here, and lots of stones with Chinese writing on them."

"No.  Because it's a spiritual place, and I can meditate."  Oh!  Wow.

As can be seen -- very tiny -- in the above picture, to the left of the middle stone, he then assumed the lotus position in front of the Veterans' Memorial Fountain. 

I found a large headstone with a tractor on it and sank down on the grass in front of it.  (A tractor?  Really?  No actually, it was the cab of a big rig truck.  Well, to each his own.) 

My daughter set out to examine the tokens on people's graves and straighten a flower or two, which had fallen down.  I always tell her not to touch anything, but her interest seems a sort of tribute.  A few years ago, she became convinced that a bit of organic matter in a cemetery vase was a "little piece of brain."  This thought did not seem to disturb her in the slightest.

On the small hill behind the cemetery lives a family of hares.  Dragged from his reveries, my son sat on a bench and watched my daughter stalk them.  I didn't think she could get close, but she really did get quite close.  We took pictures of them.  Around four o'clock, it was time to go home.

Last fall, Dave and I rode our bikes to the town cemetery.  He'd never been there and didn't know why I brought the kids there every year.  We had a brilliant time, and by the end, he understood: "It's like Disneyland.  You can't do it all at once.  You have to just keep coming back." 

You really do.


  1. great post, Maya .. let's go back to Disneyland soon .. and then keep going back ..