This week, I challenge you to mark your phone as off limits. Rather than giving into the urge to take a picture, write down your impressions of the scene. Who’s around? How does the air feel? What sounds do you hear? What emotions are you experiencing?
The black crow was picking the earth crumbs, snapping at something unseen by human eyes. Suddenly he startled and flew, but not far and precariously landed on the edge of a gravestone. He had a good choice in the graveyard, there were many gravestones, but he selected one of the newer stones, a white rough stone with black engravings showing who the owner is, or should I say was. There were no old worn stones in this graveyard. There are never old worn stones in this country, even the graveyards seem to be subject to a regular cleaning session, as the windows in the houses. Everything neat and tidy and if you were longer than forty years in this graveyard you were removed, making room for the next customer.
All this did not disturb the crow gazing from his high perch, speculating which stone to select for his next landing place. The gardener arrived with his truck filled with a new selection of heathers and other winter plants and the crow was disturbed. He flapped off to quieter pastures on the other side of the cemetery, where the family tombs were kept: those that were wealthy enough to stay and not be removed after their forty years sleep. Somehow the crow knew that this was a place of peace where there would be no disturbances. Perhaps a spider or insect might wind its way between the stones searching for a home. Here the gardener had nothing to do, it was privately organised by the descendants.
In the meanwhile the gardener and his men were busy hacking earth, removing old dead refuse of summer and reviving a grave with a display of pink and white heathers, here and there a hellebore, an evergreen perennial which would stay preserved until the Spring bulbs again arose to life. Life was a rarity in this place, but examples appeared in the form of relations of the dearly departed or just the inquisitive few reading names on the stones and remembering that they once knew this person some years ago Then they walked on.
There were blank spaces, covered with green grass, fading now into a greyish green, frozen by the fingers of frost that would appear at dawn, only to disappear when the midday light warmed the air. These places were ready and waiting to be filled, and filled they would be by the end of the year.
The crow decided to explore this empty spaces, there would definitely be a nice fat worm somewhere and then it saw a rowan tree hanging with its orange berries. A feast for crow eyes and for him alone: untouched and ignored by human hand. That meal was reserved for the birds, a human could die from eating such a berry.
More crows arrived sitting in the branches of the old trees and watching the men excavating, the earth at the foot of the gravestones. The truck was now emptied of its cargo, a bare surface was left. The truck driver turned the key in the driver’s cabin and the truck roared to life. It did not wake the inhabitants of the graves, they were still resting in their eternal sleep, but the crows rose in a black cloud, cawing and singing with their high pitched calls and flying away to the nearby forest of high trees.
They now had a view over the graveyard, where the stones were neatly placed row after row, each grave the same distance to the one before. Yes, even in death there had to be order.
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