the empty graves

“but i want to go to your mother’s grave,” she said. “you can come or not, it does not matter,” she added. “but i’d appreciate a navigator.”
“i do not see what i’ve forgotten there,” i said. “but ok, i’ll go.”
and so we went.
the day was bright and sunny, the road characteristically abysmal, and my unhealed inner ear played tricks on me as usual, deepening the misery into proper despond.
and then we were there.
a nuthatch had just lead out their brood. the young birds were all over the place, close and uncouth, and very happy to fly on their own, and unafraid yet.
a thunder was approaching, making the air stuffy and thick.
in the lot were two grave places, my wee brother’s and my mother’s. i looked at them, and i suddenly realised,
i did not know which was which.
they were just graves, grave and empty. my loved ones were somewhere else.
 on our way back, we stopped by a world war two fortification hill, with all those trenches and whatnot. i felt alive in the forest, among the pines, walking on the moss-grown paths of the collectors of berries and mushrooms. the sun threw stark black shadows against the pale grey lichen, the billberries were ripe, and the wind sang in the crowns of the 80-year-old trees.
there was life, a presence, a continuation in the forest, where men (and maybe women) had fought and died, and left their war-trenches. there was a future here, amongst pines of brown and green.
and i, the home-less one, was connected again.
Advertisements