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  • "Here take back the stuff that I am, nature, knead it back into the dough of being, make of me a bush, a cloud, whatever you will, even a man, only no longer make me." Georg C. Lichtenberg

    This photo is of a child's gravestone in a small cemetery down the road. I wander in each spring to see what's changed (not much does) and to check particularly on this one stone which is now becoming encased in an ancient maple. It took years for me to even notice it was there, hidden over on the far southern boundary of the cemetery. It is one of the oldest gravestones in the cemetery, date of death December 1860.

    This week I noticed that the stone had cracked due to the pressure of the tree literally devouring it. I also noticed something else - a second gravestone, hidden in brambles - not 10 feet away, beside it. An older sister - Mary. Date of death, same. Two siblings dying on the same day in December? Surely an accident of some sort.

    I am now in the thick of it, researching to discover what happened, who was this family and were they connected to our old house? (The cemetery abuts what used to be the property line, and the dates align as far as when our house was built, etc.)

    For now I will say that what springs to mind about all of this on this holy weekend, wrought with both joy (I love Easter, not because I am religious but because of the whole notion of rebirth and beauty of pagan spring rituals) and sadness (we just lost a dear extended family member for whom we are mourning) is that nature takes back - in entirety - what is hers, recreates it into something else, just like Lichtenberg said.

    John Henry and big sister Mary who died in 1860 now, quite literally, have become this ancient maple tree, c.2012. No, not biblical, but a true story of hope and becoming that resonates with me.
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