Today in Seattle it was raining and I was grateful because it felt like fall was coming, and I needed a change.
The energy of summer had warmed me, but as of yesterday, I was starting to feel burned out. Like the hills of ubiquitous brown grass with only a few green weeds still sucking up the sun.
Too much can be, well, too much.
Yes, I need this change of season, as much as the earth and the brown grass and the trees dropping their leaves are looking forward to changing their colors.
Ready to go inward and rest, come out in your new fall fashion and shake the leaves of summer off.
Got me thinking of pine needles and pumpkin pie....
I had driven across town to the bank to deposit my rent check and since I was on the other side of town I thought to drive to my favorite park on top of Capitol Hill with a different view toward the east Cascade mountains instead of my typical westward stance.
But then I find myself turning into the cemetery on the top of the hill, slowly driving through the one lane driveway admiring the mature trees and large monuments.
What am I doing here?
I'm looking for a sign. A sign of what? I don't know. I need a sign. Well you have to ask for a specific sign in order to get one, that's how it works.
That's how it works, huh?
Who made up those rules?
I need a sign. I don't know what kind of sign I need or I wouldn't be asking for a sign.
I won't get one now because I don't know what I need?
I pull to the side and get out of my car. Walking around. Walking around. I say out loud.
I need a sign. I keep walking.
It's really quite beautiful in this cemetery. The sun comes out periodically. "Is it strange to take pictures?", I question myself.
I snap a few anyway. No sign so far. What am I looking for exactly? A tombstone with my name on it? Yes, actually I thought I'd find one next to a name of one of my ex-boyfriends and I'd know for certain that's where I'd gone wrong.
You know it couldn't be any more clear than that.
There are some beautiful monuments and then some gaudy gigantic ones, even those are tolerable as the rain and moss has softened them to the landscape.
I think, this is it. We erect these gigantic monuments over our decaying little bodies and that's a testament to how grand our life was lived? That doesn't seem to make any sense. And yet these monuments are real, fortified, carved in stone, erected, protected, visited.
I don't know that I'm making any difference in the world at all, maybe I'm just one of those ripple effects that dies lightly in the surf. Someone proved that a flapping of the butterfly's wings could cause a hurricane across the world.
But still, no one is going to erect a monument after me. What would they even say on it?
And how strange to think, I have an expiration date. It's written somewhere. It's already written, but no one will label me with it until I've expired. Then they'll carve it in stone, two dates beginning and an end.
I find a peaceful bench at the top of the hill to sit in the cemetery and observe the beautiful landscape of ornamental graves. I sit for hours.
I'm not the only one in the cemetery, car after car pulls around the corner from me, stops, parks, people get out, and take pictures. It's Bruce Lee's grave. One girl in a trucker hat with flowers poses and smiles as her boyfriend snaps pictures.
I feel a little strange for the girl and for Bruce Lee.
Why do we want pictures taken with celebrity gravestones?
Because he was famous?
Or because of what he lived for? Because of what his life represented in the world?
Where I am sitting there is a grave that says "Historian and Poet".
I'd like my gravestone to read "Artist and Poet".
Maybe even "Beloved Wife and Mother."
What a gift to be an artist. What a lovely lovely gift to be a creative and thrive fully expressed as a human being. Loved for who you are, not what you do.
No one's gonna say "Wow she really mastered online retail sales" on my death bed.... But I hope they'll say I could tell a good story and that the way I pictured the beauty in the world helped to open your eyes to the magic of living.
I'd like my husband to say I was a damn good kisser and baked a pretty decent pumpkin pie. That I always had to have the biggest Christmas tree and loved eggnog lattes.
"She didn't love to cook, but on the occasion she made you lasagna or seared scallops and risotto, you knew you were loved."
I have been broken open, softened by my experiences, not hardened.