The Cemetery Walk

She needed to get out of the house and feel the sun shine on her.  Feeling it’s warmth, feeling the breeze on her skin, and seeing the distant hills in the desert landscape soothes her soul.  Being outside in God’s creation is the best medicine for her. It’s self-prescribed as the best medicine to fight the blues.

She’s been feeling down for the past couple weeks and only realized it a few days ago. Her husband asked if she was okay.  She reflected, and then replied with “No, not really.” When he asked what’s wrong she realized that she couldn’t really say what’s wrong with her.  The monstrous dark cloud of sadness had settled on her and she didn’t even notice it. It’s no surprise really. She’s been dealing with sharp pain in her knee for about two weeks that makes sleeping difficult and working difficult.  She’s come home from work physically and mentally wiped out almost every day for the past two weeks.

Pain in her knee or not she needed to get out of the house and into God’s creation. Not wanting to overdo it, she opts to do a lap or two around the nearby cemetery.  Easy stuff when compared to the 10-12 mile runs she used to do when training for her half marathons only about a year before. She’s proud that she did those halfs and one day wants to do the Los Angeles Marathon.  She was jealous of her two twin cousins who successfully completed the LA Marathon just today. One day, she tells herself.

She sets out to do her 1.5-2 miles.  Walking. Her 7-year old son sees she’s heading out for a walk and asks to join her.  Not this time she tells him. This medicine is best taken alone. She changes clothes, puts on her Garmin watch, pushes the start button as she hits the bottom of the driveway.

It’s a beautiful day outside.  She’s thankful for her long sleeves and hat protecting her from the early summer sun.  In the desert, mid March is the early summer. There’s no such thing as spring here. She walks around the cemetery thinking about how she can fit exercise into her schedule and looking at the far hills with the shadows of the high clouds on them.  Beautiful. Her soul is being fed.

She goes around the cemetery once.  It’s been about a mile and she’s not ready to go home  yet. So she decides to go around a half-lap. The anti-inflammatory medicine her mom gave to take for her knee pain is working great.

The graves she passes each has a story to tell but she doesn’t know their stories.  All she knows are clues to their stories. This one was a beloved mother. This one was a veteran of World War II.  This one had a short life. Walking through the cemetery reminds her that this life is short and and everyday is a blessing.  It always puts her problems into perspective. Do not worry about tomorrow as each day has enough worries of its own.

She’s almost done with her half loop when she sees a grave that is littered with flowers, keepsakes, and mementos.  She walks toward the grave and looks at the grave stone. She gasps when she recognizes the name and picture on the stone.  She knows this story. It’s a former student of hers who died in a car accident a year ago. It was a was tragic and unexpected death.  She sobbed waking back to her classroom from the staff lounge where the principal had gathered the staff to share the news.

She becomes teary-eyed staring at the grave sight.  At the grave there are little figures of Disney Princesses, flowers, large hair bows, a weather-worn Bible, and various other small items. The grave itself was filled with white rock.  She bends down and picks up the few pieces of white rock that have strayed into the surrounding dirt and places them back onto the grave.

After saying a short prayer for the family she resumes her Garmin watch and continues to walk back home.  She ponders over the ways of the world and how some who bless us are in it for such a short period of time.  She wonders about what could have been. How is the family doing now? She feels guilty for being depressed when the family has such profound grief.

She leaves the cemetery with it’s raised white-rock graves and comes onto the street.  There is a bicyclist just leaving his driveway. He turns the corner and pedals toward her.  She recognises him as a student who attends her school.

He smiled and said “Nice day for a walk!”  

She snaps out of her reverie.

“Yes it is!”  She replied, smiling back.