Rendered Fat Content


Peter Paul Rubens: The Lamentation (1614)
" … forever rooted in our forebears' and lost daughter's."

Mornings here taste as sweet and cool as a freshly-picked strawberry. However blistering the sun promises to become later, he starts the day with a cool head, in no apparent hurry to prove any point. The yard always finds dew overnight and releases it slowly to create a lush sense of enoughness. The roses bloom with ferocious intensity, colors screaming passionately. …Is a rose, indeed. Names inevitably understate identity. None of us were ever what we were called. In the town cemetery, the stones hold more than mere names and dates. They hold stories, unchanging through decades, varying only in tiny emerging details. My great great grandmother will always be the fifteen year old whose guardian aunt granted permission for her to marry that hapless ex-Union soldier who had been mustered out on a medical discharge after missing his first and only battle. Born in the eighteen forties, she would see the nineteen forties before departing, a lifetime spanning antebellum to anti-aircraft guns, The Oregon Trail well into the Age of the Automobile. Her story's stabile, though her stone's almost unreadable now.

SettlingInto allows us to visit our forebears.
This town holds its departed near, the burying ground most like a park featuring towering trees and views of the mountains. The Muse and I got lost, disoriented after so long in exile, she resorting to an app to find a map to locate my brother-in-law's grave. Gone Fishin', it says. We left my father a Peace rose, like the one he grew in the front garden, the first rose I ever recognized and still my favorite. My mom received a lavender rose, funereally scented, too rich for my taste but not for hers. My grandmother I never met received the companion to my mom's, her daughter's. I always struggle to find my great grandparent's stone. It's well hidden, right out in the open, but my once masterful orientation degraded in exile, leaving me stumbling over other familiar names, unexpected snippets of history stumbling my progress. There's the vice principal who expelled me from high school a week before graduation. None of the stories ever change here. Time's suspended.

I flood my carburetor with emotion standing before these final resting places of my family's stories. Once ashamed of nearly every one of them, or at least of my association with them, I'm now proud to have known every one. Like everyone growing up, I convinced myself that I'd been born into the wrong family. I suppose every kid passes through that stage where their father doesn't understand and their mother makes unreasonable demands while certain friends seem to have it easier by comparison. All those notions might have been whispered by Satan or someone to lure another young one astray. Few had it half as good as my family had it back in the day, and few had it worse than my forebears sometimes faced. I figure the best and worst average themselves out over time, especially once the stories find their final resting places. There, they intertwine such that yours won't be very much like mine. I experience the cemetery as a stabile story library. Wherever I visit, the stories resurrect themselves.

My son sent me a photo of the inscription for my dwalink dwaghta Heidi, chiseled beneath her great grandmother and namesake's headstone inscription in a cemetery in Vancouver. She's not there. It's only her marker, but I suspect her stories might well find their rest there anyway. We'd planned to scatter her ashes into a creek she loved, though I'd wondered where her story might muster once she'd washed away. It was a shock to me, though I knew she had gone, to realize that she now represents a finite set of stories, stabilizing into permanence, and not continuing to grow and evolve. She became who she would become, her aspiring finished and done. Life runs its course. It does not walk. It moves seemingly ever faster before ending its race, perhaps accumulating kinetic energy for the ages after the story stops growing and starts reminding others. The Muse cut roses in remembrance of the stories we recall, the ones capable of reminding me where I came from and who I am. I might still be accumulating stories, but they're forever rooted in our forebears' and lost daughter's. Mournings here taste as cool and sweet as a freshly-picked strawberry.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver