I’m leaning on the hood of the truck, taking in another spring in one of my favorite picnic spots. It’s an old cemetery in one of my favorite communities, Westfield, NY.
I have stopped in the same spot every season for nearly a decade. I take a picture from the same location, rain, shine, sleet, or snow in the morning, noon, or night.
Something in this place tugs at my spirit. I find solace around these grand maple trees lining this narrow path leading up to these ancient monuments. Monuments etched with reminders of local myths and legends. Every monument here is a quotation mark on a lifetime of stories; every marker a reminder of the impermanence of it all.
I wonder how many secrets are taken to the grave here? How much joy and sorrow was left behind by these men, women, and children for others to suss through?
I eat breakfast here, sitting on the hood of the car, reflecting on yesterday, living for today, and leaning into tomorrow.
I never really understood what it was about me that drew me to this place or the hundreds of other cemeteries that I have visited. Today I am reminded how these places of peacefulness and solitude strengthens me. Cemeteries are full of impermanent monuments marking the impermanence of life and, by extension, the transience of suffering and joy.
I realize that when I come here, I am unconsciously visiting my loneliness. Over the last several years I have grown to recognize how much I savor these moments.
Moving forward, that is how I’m going to approach my relationship with the feeling of loneliness. “I’m not feeling lonely; I’m savoring it.”
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