Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just down the road


Got home from work yesterday and went to do the chores. Long underwear, layers of shirts and extra socks are a must these days. Dawn is back from the breeder now, and Eve is happy with her friend back. The chickens are all locked inside the coop, and I notice that the pecking order of my roosters has changed. My broken-toe red rooster is now subservient to my battle-scarred black roo, and hovers in corners and behind the feed tubs to avoid being chased.

It is very very cold. My fingers almost froze while trying to take this picture. This is looking southwest from our yard. The pine tree in the mid-distance marks the location of the tiny pioneer cemetary near our house.

There are three headstones in the cemetary, but I'm sure many more people are buried there. Their markers have disappeared over time. I've memorized the remaining names: Caroline, Ludwig and Martin. All died in the late 1800's. Caroline was 26, Ludwig was ten months, and Martin was two months.

The cemetary is small, no more than a quarter-acre in size. It is kept diligently mowed by an anonymous church volunteer who shows up in a pick-up truck pulling a trailer with a mower. Ten minutes of mowing and the pick-up zips away. Driving past the cemetary on my way home from work yesterday, I saw the wind had drifted the snow nearly ten feet high near the pine tree, with just the top of Ludwig's stone to be seen, and nothing of Caroline's or Martin's.

This is one of my kids' favorite places to take a walk in the summer. It's only a few hundred yards down the road, but with the way my kids walk, it can take over half-an-hour to get there. Rock collecting is a favorite diversion along the way, as is bird watching, cat chasing, bushwacking through the ditch grass, cloud pointing, crop inspection, and just plain meandering. When we reach the cemetary we say hello to Caroline, Martin and Ludwig. After a bit of dancing and rolling on the ground, it's time to head back home.

Some people might be offended by the image of my children laughing and dancing in a cemetary. I'm not. The image of a child laughing and playing next to a child's grave is, for me, very spiritual. Kind of a renewal and continuance of life thing, a spring following winter thing. Maybe if it was my child's grave I'd feel different, but I hope not. There's lots of serious 'hope nots' to be found in that last sentence.

On a warmer day this winter I should take my kids for another walk down to the cemetary, and say hello to Caroline, Ludwig and Martin again. It'll be hard to find pretty rocks under the snow, and most of the birds have gone south for the season, but we'll find plenty to keep us busy along the way.


4 comments:

Karen said...

I absolutely love the idea of your kids dancing and laughing over the gravesites of those other people/kids. I'm sure they enjoy the sounds from whereever they are. Any way of digging up more info on who's buried there?

Jo said...

I think it is a catholic cemetary, so I'd go first to the local catholic church. Someday when I have more time ...

Kathy D said...

Joanne,

It is amazing all the little cemetaries around here. There is one on the road between our houses called "Long Island" (I realized yesterday that we live off of the same road!! All you need to do is drive east on 330th and you'll land near our place.)

Jo said...

Hey Kathy D!

I've always thought of doing some research and organizing a cemetary crawl out here. Might be a cool touristy draw kinda thing.

Someday I will call ahead and drive down the road to land at your place. We need to swap homesteading stories. Sometimes I feel like I am the only crazy person doing all these self-sufficiency things.