Wednesday, April 30, 2014
This is where my 8th Great Grand Father Daniel Fogg and his family are buried. It's a small graveyard tucked in the back of a Maine corn field, just off a country lane, so secluded it took my husband and I much time to find, even though Google kept insisting, "You have reached your destination."
We couldn't see anything from the road, then finally had to ask someone who was standing on his front lawn with his goat, a pet named Mazie.
Mazie's owner said, sure he knew where the Fogg graveyard was. He pointed to the field beside his house, and said, "Just keep walking, it's before you get to the pond."
When my husband told him we were looking for my relatives, he stopped talking and just looked at me. "You are a true Maine-r," he pronounced.
I guess it didn't matter that I had never lived in Maine myself. It was enough that several relatives had. I felt quite welcomed, and when we reached the graveyard, I had a sense of being a part of something historically significant--the Foggs had been the town's forefathers.
I also felt a great tenderness for those folks. They had contributed to my right to be, my existence on this planet, the genes to carry on as best I can. What a gift!
Today while driving down another country lane, far south of the Fogg graveyard, I noticed that a large copse of trees and brush was begin cleared from the edge of a field. It was a fresh clearing at the foot of a steep hill, and though no one was cutting in today's rain, the work had obviously been recent.
I noticed a few old and crooked grave stones set into the earth, surrounded by a tumbling down stonewall. And all around the graveyard, a mass of brush and trees pressed in, ready to close it all up again from view.
It brought so much instantaneous, surprising joy, to round the corner and find the hard work someone had done to expose this tiny, bedraggled, sacred place. Someone had remembered that there was a cemetery here, something ancient and stolid, a place that had been chosen by the living to honor their dead.
As I slowed down, I counted 4-5 stones, all leaning in one direction or another.
After 10 years of taking this road a few times a week, here was something I had missed altogether. Perhaps everyone passing this way had missed it, as hidden and overgrown as the graveyard was.
I felt joy for the opportunity to share the place, joy for the people pulling all the "walls" down.
Perhaps sometime soon, someone from another part of the world would venture forth to find these relatives, as I had found mine.
We are so vulnerable in our living-- in this place of impermanence, of suffering and emptiness, and the universe is vast around us and in us, resonating with our finest intentions to honor just this, to wake up and express gratitude for this precious life.
Those of us who choose to sit in the charnel grounds, literally and figuratively, know there is "no old age and death and no end to old age and death...."*
Liberation is realized in no fear.
*from the Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra