Most busy travelers, going well over the 45 mile per hour speed limit, give little notice to the cemetery which lays adjacent to the highway.  Some who do notice it only increase their speed, eager to be out of sight of such a glaring reminder of their own mortality.

This day in early February has brought with it hours upon hours of record-breaking snow, escalating the anger and frustration of a populace who is more than ready to get on with the seasons.  They yell and scream, and incidents of road rage increase under the very conditions when carelessness can be most destructive.  In sharp contrast to these citizens are the residents of the cemetery.  For them the snow is insulation for their world, bringing with it the warmth and safety of a blanket to a child.  An extra layer of peace is added to the afterlife, much to the delight of all.  And they, unlike the drivers, do not attempt to convince themselves that anything, (let alone everything), could possibly be permanent.  They delight in the snow, for they are fully conscious of its impermanence.  The deepest snow will eventually melt, and those laying dormant will see the sun once again.  Footsteps in the graveyard attest to the existence of life passing through this world, but those looking for tangible evidence will be sadly disappointed (as they will similarly in most areas of their lives).  Steps appear to be in 4/4 time, but the larger number are in 3/4.  The motorists racing, raging, rush home; locking the wind, cold, snow out.  There is no room here.  The houses, the homes, from studio apartment to mansion, become prisons, coffins.  Here there are no footprints, no 3/4 or even 4/4 time on the ground.

The little ones, unbeknownst to them, are fully awake and aware of the small timeframe for such beautiful opportunities to play.  They have not yet begun to lie themselves – each day is a treasure to be fully experienced, lived.  If they had their way they would invite the snow in for dinner, dressing it up in old clothes.  (Snow feels uncomfortable in new belongings, no matter how white and fresh it may look.)  To them a blanket made out of snow, a world made out of snow, is a dream to be played out on days like these for, indeed, the fate of the world does rest in their hands.

The boys write their names in it, the girls make snow cones and various sundries, meanwhile, the dead dance.

The next morning the travelers complain that the snow, which has begun to melt, will now freeze.  The children, carefully choosing their shoes with the least amount of traction, slide, fall, cry, slide, and smile.

The dead dance, smile, live.


– February 2011