One afternoon I didn’t have anything to do so I went to this cemetery and watched a grave digger dig a grave on top of a hill.
This brand of grave digging wasn’t being done horror movie style. This was a guy on a backhoe listening to a Walkman as he worked.
When he was done there was a hole in the ground waiting for somebody who was having a hell of a bad day to be lowered into it.
After he left I watched the tent go up and I saw the chairs being arranged and then the flowers were brought out from a van and these Funeral Directors fussed over each vase and when they were done it did look pretty amazing.
I mean, it takes skill to beautify a hole in the ground.
When the service began there was a little breeze and by the end of the service the wind was howling and the tent was lifted up a few times but it didn’t blow away.
Then after the family left the business of lowering the coffin into the ground was done and the grave was filled in and the grave flowers were carefully placed around the spot where the headstone would go.
When it was finished and just as the gates of the cemetery were shut the cemetery workers- including a couple of the funeral directors came up to the little hill and they started to take the tent down.
They took the canvas and laid it flat on the ground and stood along the edges.
Someone separated from the group and cruised around the top of the hill. I saw that person check the driveway up to the grave site and when they got back I heard someone say ” let’s do it. “
They lifted the canvas up with a snap and at the next big blast of wind they tossed the canvas up and it lifted them a few inches off the ground.
They laughed and did it a few more times and at one point there was a discussion about a higher place in the cemetery where they could get airborne but that was voted down because it was getting dark.
To this day I remember that storm and those people because in this place of somber ritual, a ritual designed to separate us from an unbearable reality so that we can move forward…somewhere in all of that death and decay
the Human Remains.