Monday, November 2, 2009

November 2: All Soul's Day/Day of the Dead

Tonight as I was driving home from work, the full moon was just beginning to peek above the dark rim of Mount Battie, the hill that forms the backdrop to my neighborhood. At the base of Mount Battie is Mount View Cemetery, where my maternal grandfather, great-grandparents, and other family members lie buried. On this day of remembering our loved ones who have passed on, it seemed appropriate that the lunar light was shining down the mountainside onto these rows of headstones in the middle of our town.

November's full moon
emerges, cloud-shrouded, high
over Mount Battie.

When I was about six, we lived near this cemetery for a while, and I used to ramble around the grounds and surrounding woods with the neighborhood kids. There was one gravestone on the far side of the cemetery that was simply a giant, unshaped chunk of pink rose quartz with a memorial plaque affixed to it. We all thought this was the most beautiful stone imaginable, and made special pilgrimages to see it, as we would to the vernal pool nearby when the polliwogs hatched each spring. Even now as an adult, living once again within walking distance of the cemetery, I will sometimes make a detour on a walk into town just to see that stone, to reassure myself it's still there and that I know where it is, an odd touchstone to my childhood roamings. Interestingly, I don't remember the name on the stone, but I think it's a woman's. (A big pink stone probably wouldn't be considered very manly.) Thus in these small ways we remember our dead, and our past, and celebrate the full moon of the present.


  1. Interestingly, Fiona announced to me at dinner that her nanny's mommy is dead. She then wanted to know what "to be dead is" and then listened intently to me share some stories about Nanny B that made me both smile and cry. She told me it was sad my nanny is dead. She is right. Her timing on this topic seems to be impeccable and at dinner I had no idea it is All Soul's Day. Thank you for sharing.

  2. My favorite place to walk here in Milo is the cemetery, and I spend a lot of time thinking about the people I have loved whose remains are there, the people who were/are beloved to people I love... One of the most striking is the stone of the local real estate agents. A beautiful piece of granite with their dates of birth (they are both still very much alive). Underneath both their names is "Baby Boy, November 4, 1968"

    It breaks my heart every time.