From my back porch I can clearly see the city and the cemetery, with a river in between. In the evenings I sit and watch as the sun sets on it all.  The shadows lengthen, the orange, red, and gold hues appear.  There is softness in the closing of the day and I am reminded of the rhythm of each day, of each life.  The river can be heard running from cemetery to city.

At the cemetery there are names of people I know, names of people I don’t, names of people I love, people with my name, townspeople, and country folks too.  Birds, bunnies, deer and dogs come through.   Kids from across the street run by.  This is a place that gives me cause to pause.  As I walk the pathways, I think of the multiple pathways people here now had to choose from, walk down, walk back, and restart in their own lives.  They got lost, walked alone, walked with another, and found their way through.   Walking by I take notice of their life here on earth, now inscribed in stone.

The cemetery provides me both comfort and connection.  Comfort when I see the flowers and mementos placed at a grave…a person dearly remembered.  Comfort when I see the family graves and the continuum of a lifetime with grandparents, parents, uncles, sisters, new family members.  Connection to the commonality of which we live – armed services, fraternal organizations, churches, roles as wives and mothers.  Connection to the others like me, who choose to walk up here for the view it provides both across the river but also across our own lives…the view within.  Connection with the people who tend to and love the cemetery grounds…understanding the healing that comes from a place like this.

The cemetery…it gives me cause to pause.

Editor’s Note:  There are over 35 public, private and family cemeteries in Whitman County.  A special remembrance to those buried there.  A thank you to those who keep the grounds beautiful through countless hours of loving devotion.