Tag Archives: cemeteries

36

Seated on a low, old stone, long and rectangular like a wall that has either slowly been absorbed by the earth, or worn away to a nub by the sun, wind, and rain over decades and more. I’m glancing out over some of the fresher tombstones far away, down a slope, but I gaze more acutely at those older—much older—nearer to me, beneath a magnificent Magnolia tree and a few cedars. Thinking about the artificiality of time. Looking at all these ancient tombstones, headstones, grave markers: chipped, battered, cracked, broken in half, broken in pieces and chunks, toppled, lying crooked in the dirt and low grass, some leaning like that famous tower in Italy; words once cleanly, neatly etched into an also, once-smooth surface, now illegible, indecipherable, worn away, effaced, obliterated by wind, sun rain, time, time, time…. But what is time?

We all die a thousand million deaths, incalculable deaths, dying every day despite others’ attempts at preservation. Slowly, slowly worn away, a millionth of a meter at a time. Our only hope: to be continually engraved—the words by which we are to be remembered—into that stone until there be nothing left to etch those final words into, or no hand to etch our names, and then, and only then, will we truly be dead, gone and forgotten.

34

Stopping at a gas station just outside of Macon, MS the sun begins to reveal itself, or, shall I say, the clouds begin to thin out, to depart, one or two at a time like a multitude of veils gradually being lifted from a face. And as the sun—the stunning, single eye in a face without imperfection—in the multitude of moments beat down upon me, and seemed to increase the level of humidity by several percentage points, I could only think that things might get very uncomfortable today, and that I’d likely be very wet when setting up camp tonight. But, later—not long later, either—pedaling along the highway 45, on the little wedge of shoulder left me between the rumble strip and soft, shifting, gravel bed I thought how wonderful it is that at last, after four days, the sun is finally made visible and all the world shining under its radiant light, and how miraculous it is that I am in Mississippi even though it is entirely meaningless because, what are these lines that draw boundaries around the masses of land that are really only one mass of land, but which we have felt the need to separate and call them states, anyway…


I’m camping tonight at a cemetery about a mile and a half outside of Starkville. According to Google it is a park, well, it is named Memorial Garden Park, so it’s not Google’s fault. A bit misleading I think, however, it provided a quiet place for me to set up my tent undisturbed, and the adjacent property is a smallish farm—mainly brilliant green, hilly pasture with a smattering of trees, and cows grazing contentedly. In the center of the cemetery stands a statue of Christ, his hands broken off. I’m uncertain how that might have happened, whether it was intentional or unintentional, but there he stands sort of gazing off, down the hill, across the road, into nothing. It is perhaps not the most inspiring statue I’ve seen, hands or no hands. Hell, I’ve seen more inspiring statues without heads or arms, just a torso, or a fragment of a face. What’s important is the feeling and talent of the sculptor. This just reminds me of some dumb knick-knack one might pick up at a souvenir shop. No matter. When God, or the Tao, or whatever is within you and all around you, whether any particular statue or sculpture is good or bad makes no significant difference. It just provides material for thought and speculation, for having opinions and writing about them….