The Places That Lie Between

     I live in a very old house. Although the occurrence of my tenancy is fairly recent I have lived here long enough to have more questions than answers about the "former" inhabitants of my home. There are the usual creakings of a more than a century old home…that is to be expected. The cat has a tendency to stare quietly at something quite invisible while the dog barks frantically into the same empty air. There is the light in the upstairs’ bathroom (a room the dog shuns religiously) that shuts itself off. Oddly enough most usually as soon as one has settled into a newly drawn tub of water in anticipation of a good long soak.  There is the sound of the back door opening, heard with enough certainty that an assumption is solidly made that someone has come in from outside. There is the soft touch as if a hand had reached out to slow one’s ascent of the front stairs or the persistent feeling that someone is looking over one’s shoulder as they type. There is the back yard that is misty when the fields are as clear as a bell. These things, some will say, are open to debate. I won’t deny that. As I have already said there are more mysteries here than answers.

     There is a broken tombstone that rests beside the shed in my yard. The bottom half is girded by cement, an indication that at one time it was reset above a grave after time or weather had felled it. Its white marble, though marked by the passage of time and the elements, still shows a barely visible inscription. It is a memory of two lives cut tragically short. The dates so coldly inscribed more than a century past are a poor relic of the tears that must have been shed. Months mark the span of one child while just the listing of the year marks the journey of the second. A small passage, barely legible, exhorts God to guard those he has taken from their parents’ arms before it fades into the smoothness of weatherworn stone.  

 

     Cemeteries are numerous in my home township. Rural cemeteries are, for the most part, quite small and most have sections dedicated to generations of a particular family. There are stones that mark entire lineages from first settlers to contemporary descendents. The saddest perhaps are those who have gone before their time. White and steely grey marble marks the graves of those fallen in the first and second world war. Although buried overseas they were never forgotten here at home. Mothers and babes, lost together in that first and last moment of life, are joined together eternally. The ever changing coverlet, verdant now yet to fade to gold, has been well watered by the rain and the tears of those left behind.  Most of the cemeteries are well maintained but there are several past salvation. In those pastures only the county knows whose years lay forgotten under crumbling white marble and neatly mown lawns. Although the dead may visit the shadows that lie amongst the living this is where they abide. In these places the thundering silence has married the seasons. An errant wind lost amongst the stones may only play an accompaniment, never lead or drown that whisper.

     The cemetery I am to set out for is very close to my home. I have only to step out of my door and travel a bit south to Lakeview Line. Following the gravel road I keep an eye out for the posted cemetery sign. It’s there to the left, dark letters on a faded sign mounted on an old chain link fence. The cemetery is long and narrow. The boundaries are marked by towering pines that in turn give way to fields of tall corn glowing soft amber in the grey light of a cloudy autumn afternoon. The land is well kept and we walk between the stones remarking on flower arrangements and the beauty of the monuments. The older stones are harder to read. Moss obscures the sides closest to the woods and time has had a hand in hiding the rest. There is a weight to the air. It seems crowded even though we are the only ones in sight. I find the name I’m looking for at the very back of the cemetery, just a little up from the old abandoned gardening shed. An answer of sorts is carved in the white marble. The broken tombstone has been replaced. The boys rest with their parents and a monument to a brother who fought and was buried in a far distant France. There are aunts and uncles that lie near by. They are surrounded by an extended family, not alone as I had feared. I wanted to talk to them and if I’d come alone I might of, maybe another time. I can hear the sound of the lake just a stone’s throw away beyond the corn that hedges the pines. The day is fading and the sandy shore waits beyond this place.

 

The tide is high. The beach is worn smooth and clean by the incessant waves. We walk barefoot through muddied waters that lap around our ankles and then recede. My husband remarks that my footprints are like those of a child, small and light. Glancing down I see it is true. My feet barely leave a mark on the wet sand while his passage is marked by deep impressions that are larger and spaced farther apart. Looking further back along our path though I can see that the waves have done their work. Despite the disparity in depth and size both of our steps have been erased, wiped away by the rhythm of the water. The sand is as clean and bare as if we’d never been there at all.

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15 thoughts on “The Places That Lie Between

  1. Lorna, I have left a message for you in your Guessbook, do you mind if I add your link to mine? and you do the same for me? Please let me know…… Cindy xx…

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  2. Beautiful entry. When we bought our home (quite new by your standards) we were told that Gladys had passed away here. That kind of stuff doesn\’t bother us but Gladys got mad at us when we took down her few remaining things and painted over her walls. She began knocking things off shelves, bumping into walls in the middle of the night (much to the terror of the seven year old) and sliding chairs across the tile floor. We decided to put back up one of her knick knacks as tribute to her. It has been quiet ever since… Except the cat staring at the coat closet for hours…Now, anytime I lose my keys I have someone to blame it on…

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  3. Your writing is very beautiful and I wish I could write . I tend to attack everything I do. Go big or go home and the only writing that will come from that attitude is a Rant . Ah the rant , where would I be without it ? Ok smarty , you pick a colour then and we will throw it in the cup . Keep in mind though ( Chrome bumpers and dark guts, blue\\grey\\black ) gallery at http://www.sodablast.ca and look for Suburbans . That is alot of surface and I always wanted to paint that colour , it just took me 15 years to get to it . So there

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  4. My BIL just bought an old house and discovered graves with tombstones on the property…noone even knows who they are…Sad to be forgotten like that…Pat

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  5. I am SO thankful I read this at 6:33 and it\’s not dark yet…hopefully, I won\’t have to run and jump on the bed from the hallway because I\’m too afraid of the ghosts that try to grab my feet from under the bed. Sigh.

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  6. Freaky! I don\’t know how to deal with the whole ghosts thing! It freaks me out, to say the least! Even "Creepy Canada" has me turning the channel! I am facinated, yet fearful! I don\’t know why, just human nature to fear the unknown maybe….Spooky……oooooOOOOOooooo

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  7. @CindyHey I left you a message in your guestbook =)@Bob (Big Leap)I never even thought of the "blame angle". I\’ll have to keep it in mind. @ToadToady if pink is what you want then pink is what it should be …but if you were considering other colours the discussion between the household members here is leaning to either Candy apple red or a metal flecked silver. I like your rants by the way nothing wrong with going big as long as there\’s some clear line of thought that can be followed and you do that just fine.L@PatThat is so sad. If there\’s a local historical society they might be able to help him find out at least the family name and then go from there. (That is if he\’s interested.)@IndigoI sleep with the hallway light on. It helps…sometimes ;P@AmandaAh my whining worked! lol Thanks@LadyDiI\’m not one for scary tv either. I can\’t change the channel on my house though. For the most part it\’s not too bad. I would say one of the worst things is having to take the dog out late at night when it\’s really foggy. The back of the yard is lined with these big pines and the light from the house doesn\’t reach back that far. Let\’s just say it\’s pretty "atmospheric".oooooooOOOOoooooo indeed

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  8. (`\’·.(`\’·.¸¸.·\’´)¸.·\’´)Just leaving my markTo say Hello I was here(`\’·.(`\’·.¸¸.·\’´)¸.·\’´)«´~*Majestic*~`»(¸.·\'(¸.·\’´`\’·.¸)`\’ ·.¸)

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  9. WOW!! Another story I LOVED. Which reminds me of soooo many things. Michael\’s Mom says I try to preserve the past, while Michael just looks forward, due to the fact that his family had such bad luck ever holding on to stuff. ie, stuff got lost in the moving from house to house, or exactly that, that a house never stayed home for a lifetime. And it also reminds me of an issue I want to write about when I have time. It\’s about communicating with spirits, although I\’ve always felt I could do this myself, for myself (with my people). Sunday night marks the second occasion of someone for Michael using me as their source. (First it was Justin, his best friend from junior high that killed himself and on Sunday it was his Dad). I will go into more detail when I make this into an entry. I LOVE graveyards. Maybe because I\’m so comfortable with death, but they are a very calming, rejuvinating place. But I hate how close people are buried, because I don\’t like wallking on them. K L8R!

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  10. that was beautiful, eerie and touching at the same time. i\’m so glad i come to your space, you, and it, are a breath of fresh air and i always feel rejuvenated when i leave! ahhh! i would love to add you on my awesome people list, if thats okay with you.. if not, please let me know and i wont.. i certainly think more people need to come and read your magnificent words! Julie

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  11. @LisaJust be careful…remember you\’re not alone in there!@JulieI hope that "breath of fresh air" isn\’t just the wind created by the sheer volume of words…I do have a tendency to go on a bit ;P

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  12. oh, this is beautiful. just beautiful. i was starting to get a little creeped out by the mysterious happenings in your house! i have a fear of all things supernatural, friendly or otherwise. oy.p

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  13. @AimskyIt\’s really odd. I\’ve never been so drawn to a place. The first time I walked through the house I knew I had to live here. Despite that, when I first moved in here I kept the radio on all the time. There is a door in the upstairs hallway that separates the front of the house from the back and if you close it while you\’re standing on the bathroom side…well…you can feel most uncomfortable. And still this is where I want to be. I can\’t honestly say that I\’m never afraid but I really feel I belong here.@PatresaThere is grace in a life both conceived and lived. I don\’t know the ins and outs of the soul but I do believe that something is left behind (if only an echo of that life force) and in acknowledging that we pay homage to those who have gone before.

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