Oscar and I ran some errands this morning - to the vet's to pick up Bitty's flea medication, to the post office for Valentine stamps, but no hearts - only red "Lunar New Year" stamps. O waited patiently in the truck for me. I think he's reassured more and more that I am not abandoning him when he stays in the truck for a few minutes alone.
Between stops, he and I went to the cemetery and did our walk-around the big loop. It's nicely paved throughout for vehicles and an easy place to walk. There is a peach orchard to the south and the municipal airport to the north. The cemetery is on a knoll with the older part to the west. Trees fringe the borders, with the majority of the graves exposed to the sun, breezes and open space beneath the sky, and of course, all graves facing East. It's a nice break for him and lets him inhale new scents, rustle through leaves, and hear sounds of distant dogs barking. Of course, I forgot bags for him, but managed to get something out of one of the trash cans there to clean up after him. It would have been disrespectful, I think, to just leave it lying there...
I had on extra layers: jacket and a down-filled vest I keep in my truck, and ear muffs to keep out the wind. But at about 55 degrees it was so much better than the weather we've been having lately. We strolled liesurely along the edges of the grave sites, reading familiar names and noticing other names and dates, inscriptions for the first time. I always take Teri something and this time just a pine cone from our yard. It's small and it's a natural element, so it won't really litter if it does blow away. (Someone, probably Richard, had left pink and white carnations in a vase and they were still fresh. Their anniversary is today, so that's probably what they were for.) A whole "city" of markers lined up in fairly straight rows. On a windswept hill, everything appears orderly and peaceful. There was the funeral home tent that I didn't notice when I came in because it's on the other side of the cemetery, set up for a service this afternoon. I skirted the workers who were finishing up and walked down the slope toward the south entrance.
I thanked God for legs to walk, lungs to breathe, my sweet little dog just being a dog having a good time, and I thanked God for myself just being me and having a good walk. I will be 60 next month. I still feel at times as if I am 20 or 30 or 40 or even 50, and it is hard to believe the next decade is coming around the corner! It isn't old, but it isn't young any more, either. What I felt reminds me of this line, and I love this entire poem:
I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
~~The Lake Isle of Innisfree/William Butler Yeats
I'm thankful for every corner, every place of peace.