Saturday, May 04, 2002

On a hillside

I've always thought it strange that people want to be buried on a hillside — to get the best view. It says everything about how paradoxical death is and how we have no way to fathom it.

Finally back from driving 490 miles in one day to take my dad's ashes from Boston to his farm on the border of New York and New Jersey. Thursday was rainy and rotten, Friday was sunny but blowing a gale, and today, Saturday a beautiful day. He would have turned to messy clay on Thursday, and on Friday, in a wild wind, he would have flown out of our view before we could blink again and say a slow goodbye.

Today it was a beautiful, still, sunny, shiny, lovely, warm, May day, easy for driving, easy for chatting, easy for placing my dad's ashes on the best hillside under a nice hearty pine tree he had once planted himself.

Again, I find myself the one family agent in this rite — no other siblings could take the trip — but I was there with my husband and son who were strong and kind.

Just as it was with watching my dad die a few weeks ago, putting his ashes in the ground today leaves no lingering questions about the reality of death. He is gone, back to the earth, not a bad place to be on a day like today.