Every Saturday, I keep going to this cemetery.
It is a very quiet, run-down, not-taken-care-of cemetery in the middle of a nature preserve that sits on the edge of a suburban, outside-the-loop community. It’s heavily wooded, and the path to the cemetery isn’t paved. I have no ties to this cemetery. A friend took me there in the dark one evening, which is pretty much not my gig, going to cemeteries in the dark. As goth as I am, I am too afraid of getting ousted by authorities or getting mugged or raped in the woods. As I stepped out of my comfort zone that night, I found it magical. In more ways than one.
So I keep going back. In the day, though. For now.
I read the historical marker over and over again. I want to go inside and sit on the little bench that is placed right next to the marker. Instead, I am waiting for an invitation. A sign. Something that whispers to me that it’s ok to go through the pulled-back chain link fence and just sit. That I am getting closer to being welcome. I don’t know these people buried here, and the last burial in the cemetery was almost 100 years ago. I imagine most of them hard people. Rough people. Pioneer people. People who had to wear ridiculously oppressive clothing in blazing temperatures, who had to work this less-than-fertile Texas soil, who had to bury children lost to disease. As I wander outside the locked gates of this place in my yoga pants and running shoes, I know I don’t have anything in common with those who are buried here.
But I keep coming back. I keep looking for signs. I keep waiting for the dead to reveal their mysteries to the living. To tell me in hushed tones what to do with my life, how to be of purpose. These souls that cannot fathom me, my life and times – who might have the power to question why I would hang around this place so many others have abandoned.
I bring them things. A flower. A hairpin. A chunk of bread.
Say what you will. We are all in uncharted territory in this life. The more I do what feels right, the less scary that territory, known or unknown, becomes.
Whether a sign is real or imaginary, I am the one that defines its power.
I am listening.