There’s a spot on the face of the earth where a milky white stone marks the time when Kenneth B. Algeo walked among us. I’m unexpectedly here at my father-in-law’s grave on a day that began with meditation on impermanence.
The more I believe that I possess a thing, the more I believe it is mine forever. Impermanence is the pesky bit of existence that I know to be true, but at which I shrug until it becomes real. And it becomes real when that thing that I thought of as me/mine is no longer.
I feel so forlorn at the end of things that I sometimes cry. The end of visits, eras, even books, for crying out loud. I start a vacation mourning the day it will end.
So the meditation this morning took me there, to those places where things come to an end. And wouldn’t you know it, when I had a few minutes later to take a walk, I found myself at Ken’s grave in Fort Logan National Cemetey.
So, so many endings here. I see a few knots of people gathered to share recent endings. I walk among the withered flowers where endings were remembered in recent days. Short phrases on headstones give glimpses of lives before the end: “Dancing in Paris with my beautiful redhead” on the stone of a spouse who preceded the other in death by 11 years.
It has been years since I’ve been here. We came often when the pain of the end was still fresh. Hundreds or thousands of new markers have sprouted. I love how the marble stones are perfectly aligned, rows rippling over hill and swale. All these endings marked for the ages. But even they will fade away a thousand years from now.
I think I wound up here for perspective. The ending I contemplate today is as essential as was the beginning. Mark the passing and cherish the moments that made it worth remembering.
Like that dance in Paris with a beautiful redhead.