Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bike Ride into Cemeteries

Thursday morning was one of my favorite days so far since being back on the island. What made that day so much more special than the rest is that I finally got to go for a bike ride! It's been over a year since I placed my butt on that old lovely bike of mine. Last year, just a few days after my birthday, I took a nasty fall off of my bike and ended up messing up my knee for well over a month. By the time is was healed enough to get back up on that bike, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and my desire to ride was gone due to rain, wind and cold. Bummer. Then I went back to BC for summer and lent my bike to my friend Jess so that she could enjoy it. When I returned to the island a couple weeks ago, the bike needed a major tune-up and a lovely citizen came to my rescue and cleaned it all up for me, gave me a new tire and a gel cover for the seat (thanks Jim! You're awesome!) So Thursday I hauled my butt out of bed early and took it for a spin. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and I even saw my first fox of the season. The only negative aspect of the experience was that this older man with a very pronounced belly sped by me at one point...this was not good for the ego.

Near the end of my bike-ride I took a turn up to the Sherwood Cemetery to catch my breath and stretch my legs. One strange thing that most people don't know about me is that I love going to cemeteries and just walking around. Reading the headstones can be really interesting and I kind of feel that for a quick second that I get to share a moment with that person whose body has been dead and gone for so long. I walk around and read the names, dates, religious words..and I think about what the world was like when they were around. Some of the plots date back to around 1870 which is pretty neat to see. I am saddened by the tiny little headstones that commemorate the life of an infant or child. Sometimes they have little lambs engraved into the stone and some toys lovingly placed down in the grass. I think about the somewhat morbid (yet responsible) people who have graves all ready and prepared for their imminent death; the headstone sitting there with names on it but no dates of death as of yet. Maybe the family just never got around to putting a final date on yet.

The one thing that gets my head going are the graves that have a deceased husband/wife and bedside is the space for the partner who will later be placed there. So the question on my mind is, what if for instance, a man buries his wife when she is only very young...then he remarries and has a whole new life with another lovely woman...then many years later he dies...where does the body go? With the buried wife or along with the new wife who is still alive and wants to be laid to rest with her husband when she passes as well? What if his new wife dies before he does and she wants to be buried next to him when he goes? Does this mean that she gets to buried one grave over from the first wife? Wife-Husband-New Wife. Hmmm. See how this can become confusing and overly emotional? It's reminding me of several episodes of Six Feet Under.

Anyway, when I tell people that I like hanging out in cemeteries they generally give me a look like I have a third eye protruding from my forehead. Like I'm this strange and mystical creatures who should be locked up for further experimentation. I think cemeteries are peaceful and soothing. Plus they are some of the most meticulously groomed and maintained areas in a lot of cities. Freshly cut grass, fresh flowers arriving daily, tall trees and quiet respectful people to politely ignore. Sounds good to me.

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