I have a friend who lives far away. She has been through hard things and many obstacles in her life. She has freely given her best years to help others. Today, from far away, I am able to help her. I gather a few cleaning tools, some rags and a bucket of water. These are the tools of her trade. The wind is wild in the treetops but fallen leaves are too wet to twirl and dance. This day is chosen for this task because the lichen is rain soaked and more easily removed. The first time I went looking for this stone I wandered searching because the names are so obscured.
The first step is to scrub the stone with a dry brush. This removes a fair amount of lichen.
I soon find the tools I collected for the job are not sufficient so I improvise. A crunched empty water bottle, a Snapple bottle and a pick from a long faded rose are put to good use.
As I scrape, scrub and rinse I ponder things. Scrubbing is good like that. I am intrigued by double middle initials. I wonder what J. M. and A. E. stand for. I think of the baby girl who lived from June until July, all of one day. I picture the little boy playing in his front yard behind the stone wall, waving at the pay loader driver. I cannot imagine the heart of driver when his brakes give way and he goes over the stone wall. The mama who went through the heartbreak of laying these two angels here has long since been laid to rest herself but someone still remembers. Someone remembers the life, the death, and the heartache. Someone's heart still bears the scars.
I think of stones on other little graves and other little ones from times past. I walk up the hill to remember.
The pinwheel whirls in the wind like life and time whirling by. It stops for a brief moment. Time stops and stands still when death comes crashing into our lives or at least it stops in our hearts for a season.
Bubbles for Kerry and Mary
There is deep peace here but the wind and rain are picking up. The perfection part of me is loath to leave any lichen hiding in the cracks but I have long been on my knees. Anything that brings us to our knees is a blessing. It is indeed a blessing to be reminded how much Jesus loves the children.
Lichen is beginning to grow on the Runner's stone. I wonder in the long years to come if someone will scrub his stone and find his name. I wonder if we should scrape the lichens from stones. Should we clean the dust and cobwebs from little red bicycles? Maybe we should leave them be to show the years going by and time whirling on but today I am the stone keeper because someone still remembers.