Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Edge of a grave and meat ants.

(I am Linking an old post here that I wrote about my grandma today for Edenlands meme). hope that's ok.






YESTERDAY


No one knows I'm here. No one knows I have come to sit on the edge of a grave today. 


The cemetery stinks today. (It maybe the smell of the refuse tip behind, but its not nice to have this stench at a cemetery.) All those bones beneath the earth, bulging under it's cracked dried crust. Threatening to expose them selves, to be released to the sun and rain. There is a branch creaking behind me and a raven cawing in front of me. It's cold and gloomy with over cast clouds hanging above me. No joke. The cemetery is living up to it's ominous reputation. It's almost making me laugh. Almost.

If music be the food of love, play on.

That is what is written on my Grandmothers headstone. Only her plaque lays flat, as it sits in the centre of my grandfathers grave. Where she was laid upon him, 28 years after he was laid here.

I am sure she ached to be with him for those 28 years. He died 2 weeks before my 3rd birthday. Which I only worked out right in this moment. He perhaps could of been more in my life for longer, if he had chosen to have intervention in that moment his heart attack came, but he chose not to. Which maybe I admire, kind of. I heard he was a man that questioned, a man that liked to talk, a man that respected. I hope so. I think he delved to challenge himself. 
I know my grandmother did.

While I am noting this all on my ipod, sitting here on this granite edge that secures these bodies to the earth, the meat ants have come out, and keep following me. It's quite sickening really. Meat ants at a cemetery. I see now that they are headed across to the broken bottles of grog with their remnant sticky residue, scattered across the disarray of graves. Youth. What can I say. I remember coming to this same cemetery, just to scare myself silly. 

We threw eucalyptus leaves into the grave when she was lowered into the earth, and in a moment I shall pick some and lay them on this grave. I cleared it of all the shards of glass that were embedded on the layer of gravel. The graves surrounding  here are old ones, cracked and broken and head stones are laying lonely to the side.  A definable lonely place anyway. I am the only one here, and I have just realized that all the gravestones face the one way, maybe this is common knowledge. They seem to be facing to where the sun rises. All these bones are laid on a hill of course (good drainage). I walked over to the gum tree to pick some leaves, and I am sure I walked over at least 10 unmarked graves, the rocky soil was spongy beneath my feet, so I kinda fox-trotted my way through. Maybe this makes no difference to those who have been buried here, but for the living, it feels wrong to not acknowledge and respect. to the upkeep of these burial grounds, of the people who lived before us.

My grandmother played the Cello, and was a conductor. Quite a formidable one as I remember, but you would have to be, really, to keep all those musicians in line.

She had endless integrity. I know this. She knew about keeping positive and she maybe did not understand all the goings on in the world, but accepting in that. She was kind of  like an oracle in a modest way. She was a truth teller too. Wanted speeches at every family gathering, wanted to hear singing and music. She always had wise things to say. Always writing into the local paper every month having her say on issues. Never drove a car, and tapped her feet impatiently. She also was quite fond of the words blasted and blinking.


She had MOZART, of course, playing at her funeral. And I don't believe she was afraid one little bit, she was ready.







One more thing I just realized in this moment as I am editing this, as I plan to post this in the morning, is this: Tomorrow is the 8th anniversary of her death. I had no plans to go to the cemetery when I woke this morning, not one clue. I simply had the car in for a service and had to walk into town to do the grocery shopping and as I walked across the railway tracks and saw the cemetery, I knew I was going to visit my Grandparents.


PS. Those meats ant just kept coming for me, it was quite comical, me moving around the edge of the grave to escape them. I told them to piss off as I am not anywhere near ready to be turned into this earth. As I am alive with fascination and truth and questions and challenges.....





* I wrote my own choices in Edenlands comment section of her post for funeral songs. Thanks Eden, your a gem.

26 comments:

  1. You write so beautifully rex x

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  2. What a moving piece of writing, it has left me feeling quiet melancholy.

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    1. I am lucky to be in a place where I can visit my grandparents grave-site just to reflect.

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  3. You make me wish I'd met her. Cemeteries are strange places; dripping with symbolism and meaning. Meat ants and ravens, indeed.

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    1. It was such a weird experience, when I took note of the sounds around me, they were so desolate and spooky.

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  4. A good time to remember a 94 old lady who influenced people to sing dance make music and think especially think and question. 'When I get to heaven I am going to ask God why didn't men have babies too?? '

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    1. I had forgotten that she was always saying that, it was one of her favorites. Along with the most important thing in life is a sense of humor!

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  5. Rex, its cold, lightly snowing and grey here. I imagine your time at the cemetery has a similar feeling. Thanks for sharing this story. Wonderfully written.

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  6. Thank-you Nell, yes definitely. They are such strange places to be in.

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  7. You are an excellent writer/storyteller--I wanted more when I finished reading this post. One of my favorite descriptions from above: "She was kind of  like an oracle in a modest way." such beautiful and engaging descriptions.

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  8. Thankyou Auroran. Thats very kind.

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  9. Beautiful Rex. I till remember your Grandma with the exact same word - integrity. What a wonderful woman.

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    1. Thanks Leah, she was so involved. I wish I had half her energy and intellect.

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  10. So beautiful indeed. How thoughtful and in tune it seems with your soul you are. You feed the soul what it needs and is drawn to it seems, and how wonderful a gift this must be.

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  11. What a beautiful, haunting take on Eden's question. Now I need to look up meat ant.

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    1. Thankyou, it was unplanned and I find those stories come so more naturally. Meat ants are not bitey at all, but scavengers type ants.

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  12. I love how you've remembered such tender and interesting details of your grandmother's life and character.

    Cemetries scare me silly too. But in your case it has evoked such a beautiful story.

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    1. It was a strange moment of clarity. But a true story, that evoked beautiful memories.

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  13. This is such a beautiful piece of writing.

    My grandfather died 8 years ago. My beloved Grandma lives on surrounded by her large and loving family, but she is quite open about the fact that she longs to join him again.

    Bittersweet.

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  14. It's so true, my grandmother almost daily professed her wish to join my grandfather but it did not stop her living and fulfilling her life in the 28 years in-between.

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  15. That was so beautifully written.

    Also, our local cemetary has those ants too, they freak me out a bit

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  16. Oh, hon this is just EXQUISITE.

    Like you.

    xxx

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  17. Eden, thanks for coming to check out my post.

    You are so sweet.

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