Friday, August 19, 2011

Remembered in Stone

Tromping around cemeteries is something I've been doing for a very long time. It's often where you find some beautiful statuary, interesting facts, and peace. I've always thought it a pity that Americans don't have more of a European sensibility about cemeteries where they're often considered additional parks.

At Fort Leavenworth a few months ago I took some photos in the cemetery there. I was struck by the individuality demonstrated on these "identical" stones. People often have a religious symbol at the top and include a list of their service. Sometimes there's an additional line that says something about the person.

Summing up a life in a few words has always seemed like risky business to me. I'm not sure what I'd want people to read about me for the next few decades or centuries, however long it lasts. Maybe this is why most people default to the most basic of things, "Beloved Mother," or something like that. We have difficulty deciding what it should say so we leave it to those left behind, and in a desire to be accurate and meaningful they return to roles we've played in this lifetime.

I will probably always question what this man's family was trying to say with the inscription, "God Forgive His Sorrowful Heart." Obviously, they are religious people, offering an entreatment to God here. But one can't help but believe the man buried here, Robert Lee Fowler, had a difficult 59 years that led to a heart so sorrowful it's what is preserved in stone. May his new life be one of much more joy.
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Words of Wisdom

Tonight I went to see David Vidal play during Third Thursday. He was amazing, just as he was a few months ago when I first heard him. We're so fortunate to have such incredible talent passing through this little burg. I'm so thankful to Jennifer and Danny for all their efforts in making this monthly event thrive and continuing to introduce us to people like David Vidal.

He plays with a shot glass in his left hand. It's a really beautiful, haunting sound. Unlike anything I've heard before. I also love his voice - very soulful.

Tonight he sang a song with a line something like, "I've seen things better left unspoken." That really jumped out at me, and when that happens it generally means there's a message there that should be noted.

Over the years I have spoken of things I've seen that I thought might be better left alone. I'm not sure anything was ever solved by that. It was just talk. It didn't change anything that happened. Everything was exactly as it had been before the talk, except I had wasted my breath and given voice to things instinct told me were better left quietly in the past.

A motto I've lived by for years was, "Let it go. Let it be. Let it lie." It seems occasionally I forget these basic things and let others influence me to tell the stories of things better left unspoken. At this transition time of my life I'm becoming more conscious all the time of being private about my thoughts so they are my own opinions, not influenced by others.

At the same time, it's really valuable to get other people's input. Like everything I suppose it's a balancing act.
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