Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You don't know me, but...

Sometimes I meet my edge with the realization that I need to create a new energy within myself. I usually feel the need for action to get my blood pumping and my brain moving. So what do I do?

I run...to the graveyard.

I've always felt a true sense of calm in a graveyard, and I recognized it at an early age. I loved learning about my ancestry out in the old country church graveyard with my mom on Memorial Day and Christmas. I like the flowers, wreaths, sometimes toys and trinkets, and other decorations. I enjoy seeing the very old headstones with moss growing on them mixed in with the very modern graves with pictures and elaborate etchings. The graves with little lambs on them always soften my eyes and the obelisks make me dizzy, but I like them all.

I love reading all the names from different generations and noticing which old fashioned names have become popular again. I cherish the verses and sentiments that loved ones felt so inclined to engrave to honor those who have passed. All of these facets draw me to graveyards and each time I visit even though there is a strong sense of the old, I always leave with something new.

When I started running again, I began to work my runs around two different graveyards, one public and one for veterans, a small open-to-the-public meditation chapel, and a bridge over a natural spring. These are the places I rest when my heart is pounding and my legs feel like jello. This is where I collect my thoughts that I've been tossing around as I try not to turn my ankles on the broken pavement of crumbling sidewalks. This where I cry, pray, laugh, sing, create, critique, process, and get inspired. These places help me remember that I can and will keep going no matter what obstacles may be in my path.

I feel called to these places and while I'm there, I am connected. I think about the wisdom gained during one's life, the lengths of life cycles, and how we move beyond the shells of our bodies. I make rounds, visiting a marker of a friend who left too soon, wondering what folks were like based on what I see on and around their graves, and occasionally seeing and sharing with a friend a memory at the grave of his amazing wife who lost her hard-fought battle with cancer.

I really like the idea of a bench as a marker and I can still remember the day I found my favorite place to sit. I ran by it, stopped, ran backwards, stared, and eventually sat down. This was bench made of stone, it had two small ceramic urns with bright daisies in them and the script under the name and dates said, "To Be Continued..."  On the top there was a deeply carved labyrinth. I sat down and breathlessly said, "You don't know me, but...."

I have shared some of my greatest fears and hopes with the owner of this bench. I have laughed until I cried and have felt waves of grief lift from my shoulders while sitting on this bench. I have walked a little taller and moved more gracefully after sitting on this bench. I have traced my finger on, studied, and constructed several labyrinths because of this bench. I can go there in my mind even if am in another country. It is my ice cave where I find my power animal (straight from Fight Club, (Slide!) ), my sunset on the beach with a delicious fruity beverage, and my bank of blooming hyacinths beside my childhood home.
Yes, I realize that to some all this may sound a little off, so feel free to judge if you are so inclined. But I look at it this way...
I'm not hurting anyone, it helps me without worrying about placing my burdens on any of my friends and family, and I find humble awareness in these spaces where I can rest from the stresses that hold me back from who I truly am.

May you all find your places of peace so you can play in this life, even if it is among the memories of those who are no longer living.


  1. Hmm... i think i lost my post! What i'd said was how much i remember about the house you grew up in and what good times i had there...Willie Nelson and SNL. I remember the great yard to the right of the house and playing there late in the evening. No worries, no cares. Good times for little kids,I'd say!

  2. Yesss, good times a-go-go! Definitely lots of childhood blessings. I miss the wildness of country living. I yearn for it for my kiddos. I want them to romp!