I listen to the crunch of gravel as I drive slowly down the central avenue of the cemetery. I gaze at the headstones, clustered on either side, some showing their age, while all silently stand watch over those that they honor.
I first came here a couple of years ago while researching my family to find the resting place of a great aunt. That had been a sunny summer day and I was taken by the shade and shadow provided by the elderly trees in the old section that spread their leafed wings over the landscape. I welcomed the beauty and the feeling of peace that surrounded me.
Today, my wife and I have come for another reason. I’ve told her of this place and wanted her to see it. The day is gray and overcast, a chill in the air, rain threatening to challenge the clouds. The overseer said the section we seek would be on our right after passing through the original grounds.
I slow and stop,knowing instinctively that we have reached our destination. Stepping from the car, we approach the stones of those who passed not so long ago. The markers are sparse here. Near the end of the second row, I see the two unmarked plots. I remember asking about trees and am happy to see that a maple of young growth lingers near. I don’t know why that is important, but it is.
My wife and I exchange words of acceptance. We agree that we could be happy here, as if happy is something that we hope to take with us. Again, even given the gloominess of the day, I experience the feeling of serenity I experienced before. It is peaceful here. I feel safe here. I know that together, we have chosen our forever.