Thursday July 31 , 2014

SPIRITUAL PAGES - At least it didn't rain

 

 



      by John Bellamy ( 2002 )
 

RETURN

 


Cold foggy day.  Early afternoon.
Dew still on the lawn as I drove in. 
Avenue of Pine Trees majestically sweeping their branches high above. 
No breeze.  No sound. 
Just some birds silently singing far off.
Waiting alone.  Statuesque standing. 
Meditative mind. 
Silence. Contemplating.  Remembering.


Looking around. The list on the wall of those who have come before,  and those who will come after.  Old sounding names.  Dead sounding people.
A coffee machine in the corner.   How thoughtful.  The stone work.  The arched window and stained glass.  The deep blue carpet and over watered plants.  So pretty.  Bland wallpaper.  Neutral – un-noticeable.


People arrive.  Faces long.  Expressions like the weather.  Bewildered stares at unrecognized faces.  Smiles and nods with muffles words.  Condolences.  Sympathies.  Stories shared of days gone by,  when…
Muted words shared in whispers. The silent conversing in tones of days gone by, not always so distant. The words of shock, surprise, even horror at the news.
Lots of –“ He was still so young”  and  “How dreadful”  and “ Well at least it didn’t rain.”

Frozen, rehearsed smiles below tearful eyes that show the truth.   Distraught emotions.  Must keep it together.  Be brave.  Don’t cry.
More people gather in the waiting room. Lots of black coats. Lots of blue rinses. Lots of perms. Lots of walking sticks. The wisp of  Old Spice and Brill cream:- Lavender cologne and mothballs.

Long, black, sleek and expensive,  they glide to a halt effortlessly.  
Such style

Embarking.  Words spoken that say nothing. Usual stuff.  Always voiced at these times.  Saying much while saying nothing. What is one to say ?  Embarrassed. Furtive glances at the family.  Best say nothing, smile wanly.

Many questions. Less answers.
Greetings and remembrances of past times.  Here. Same place. Different day. Different face. Same black coat. Same sad eyes. Same emotions that rule  the day.

Flowers. Pretty colours atop a fine wooden veneer. We follow slowly. Like the animals, two by two. Behind a man with a stick, ever more slowly.
We sit and wait.  Looking around at deco lamps hanging, organ playing Ave Maria in subdues tones.  Bit slower than usual. Echoing off the stone.  Absorbed in the blackness of fabric.

Silence descends. 
Atmosphere rises. 
Kleenex at the ready.
Sniffles heard.


Words are spoken, eulogy given.
In nine minutes a life is lived. 
Two poems voiced.
Lords prayer read by all.
Hymns are sung and the wooden veneer and flowers descend before us, it’s motor filling the silence.
Hiding crying.

We stand in silence. Filing out  slowly to the garden led.
Flowers displayed.  Each the same, really. 
Seen many times before. 
Nothing original. Nothing new.
It’s always the same. It seems.

Heavy atmosphere breaks with fresh remembrances.
Old friends recognized through the crowd, some laughter, some tears, some joy, much sorrow.

Smiles and bit lips.
Red noses.
Red eyes.
Read minds of sorrow held back.
Everyone knows.
Few say.


Hand shaking.
Back slapping.
Women kissing the air beside another face.
Some land, some don’t.
Keeping a tight rein on emotions.
Don’t get too close, it may show.

We slowly part.
Some to share the continuing drama of sorrow.
Some to fetch children from school.
Life goes on.

Life is for the living.  
Say your goodbyes and move on. 
Funeral over.
See you at the next one.
Wonder who it’ll be.

We part.
At least it didn’t rain.

© John Bellamy- 2002



 

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