Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stories are where you find them

Today I took my husband to a medical center to pick up some medications. The center is about 45 miles from our home in a smaller community. Normally my husband goes alone, but I needed a certain color of cardstock for the current art project I am working on, so I decided to drive and check out the scrapbooking shop there.

My husband is sort of a straight forward sort of guy that goes and does what he needs to with no side trips. That is not my idea of making an opportunity out of a mundane task. But when he is driving we do it his way.

So I tucked my camera in the car and down the road we went. We stopped to pick up the medication first. Then as we pulled out of the medical center and came up to the first stop sign we had to turn right or left. I noticed just ahead of us to the right was a cemetery sitting up on a hill. A left turn would take me to the scrapbooking shop. I turned right. My husband began to sputter and tell me I had turned the wrong way. I don't know if he will ever learn that in my creative mind there is No wrong way.

It was a very old cemetery. Everyone being buried on the side of that large hill. I wonder if it is more of a problem burying a casket in the side of a hill rather than on level ground. Is there a problem with erosion? My creative mind could dream up so many different scenerios. But I did not notice one tombstone tilting or any other signs of problems.

I love cemeteries. There are all sorts of people there. Young and old, heroes and cowards I am sure. Yet each time I go to a cemetery, it is so quiet and peaceful. No one argues about being crowded nor jealous because Robert has a larger grave marker than William. Some of the stones are quite large and ornate while others are quite small with just the facts. I love to wander the rows of stones and try to imagine those lives.
In this cemetery there is a stone with the name Susan Elizabeth. She lived only 4 months. I wonder what took her life at such a young age. Next to her, is her mother Mary Frances. I wonder what she was like and why she died at age 39. Could it have been from a broken heart at the loss of her child? The stone next to hers is her husband's, Robert. I see he died at age 97 and I wonder what he did or didn't do that gave him long life. Did he go on alone all those years, or did he marry again? Was his life his work? Three lives all connected yet so very different. My creative mind wants to fill in the blanks, wants to tell the story. It is unlikely I will never know the true story. Robert died in 1897. There are no other stones with the name of Spencer there.

But there is a story already forming in my mind. Maybe not their story. But a good story.

My husband tells me that only I would come to a cemetery to find inspiration. I tell him we are all surrounded with inspiration. We just fail to open our eyes and mind in order to see it.


  1. Beautifully written! Made me laugh to think about spirits complaining about the size of their stones. And yes, cemetaries are beautiful places to visit to honor human life and to explore and imagine past lives and history.

  2. We used to eat lunch at the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta where all the mayors of Atlanta are buried, and Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone with the Wind)... it was always interesting to read the very old tombstones.

  3. Wonderful story! Thanks bunches for sharing it. I am Beth by the way and you and I are taking Laure's watercolor class together. I have never taken a watercolor class and honestly until recently I had never thought I would take up any form of painting but here I am! LOL Look forward to reading more of your stories...