Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10 - When I die, do this with my ashes/bones/body

It's hard to see a prompt like this and not think of Jack London's famous quote:

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out

in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom

of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The function of man is to live, not to exist.

I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.

I shall use my time.
But the characters I'm writing about were not reading Jack London.  Who know's if they would have even known of the possibility of cremation.  Chances are they assumed they would be buried on their land or at the Pleaston Hill Cemetary in Sebastopol (where the hold the amazing cemetary walk each year).  I started thinking about the last conversation my main character would have had with her husband as he lay dieing after the train accident.  Or, even considering if she had had that conversation, or maybe had just sewn together scraps of conversations in her mind.  Based on all of this I came up with this draft.  Any one out there still trying to write along?  If so, send me a note!  I'd love to hear from you.  And if you haven't been writing along, today is a good day to start!

When I Die, Bury Me Where the Fog Rests
I can’t remember where I was when he last spoke. Time was stained-glass shards glistening in the light. But fragments drift in memory like a low fog:

When I die I want my body buried here where we’ve worked so hard to build our place.

Were these words spoken over a campfire as we travel west under press of stars?

Or did he breathe them through swollen lips as his body lost its strands of life?

If I go first, bury me close to you and Joe.

And so we did. You can see the wind-washed fence that surrounds his grave from the stairs landing. Each wooden picket is covered in lichen. But I can still smell the turned earth of that day each time I step to it and kneel.

When I die bury me where the fog rests.

How I wished to follow his body into the grave. How only Joe’s tiny body clinging to mine kept me from letting go.

This is a hard life. Marry again. Don’t be alone.

Had he known when he spoke these words how impossible they would be? Seasons soar past. The bare trees burst into blossoms, green out and then fruit. The plentiful harvest. Then bare again and again.

When I die I want my body buried here where we’ve worked so hard to build our place.

I still walk each row wearing his old work boots, my arms sinewy with sun and work.  My heart gone stained glass, but mended.  The way an apple graph takes - one branch grows into the other and carries on. 

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