I drove to the graves this morning, when the dusting of snow under the shadows of the trees and benches and headstones had not yet met the warmth of the rising sun. My mother and sister-friend Cindy are buried steps away from each other, right at the northerly edge of Farmington Cemetery. We had all purchased our plots together, years ago, chuckling that we wanted that section so we could do drive by grieving. Now, sooner than any of us had anticipated, we steer our cars toward the foothills south of Farmington Canyon, pulling over just east of Jim Hefner and Chad Morgan and Doug Miller's graves. We pause, and let our sorrow run down the curb, down toward the Great Salt Lake.
Mom has settled in, so to speak. Though we have yet to install a headstone, we have two sturdy benches and a solar light hanging from an iron hook, and usually some sort of living thing, pansies or hyacinths or a winter evergreen. For two years we had a little iron bell on a shepherd's crook, which we rang seven times at every visit….one ring for each of her children, but someone without a trace of a conscience stole that from her grave. The grass atop Mom's burial plot is dark green and spotty, the sheltering arms of the sycamore tree just south of her depriving the spot of adequate sunlight.
The earth on Cindy's plot, on the other hand, was broken and turned only five weeks ago. For one full month the thick, fragrant bed of flowers atop her grave remained amazingly fresh and colorful. It was almost unreal how long that massive bouquet remained fresh. Cindy loved flowers, flora of all sorts actually, and it was perfectly appropriate that those flowers seemed to thrive atop her. It was as if there was an imaginary greenhouse covering her final resting spot.
Today, when I visited the graves, the flowers had finally been removed from Cindy's plot. In their place was a perfect rectangle of chartreuse green grass, the fine thin grass blades tender in their infancy. The luminous grass was twice as long as the grasses surrounding it, long and washed with early spring green. The kind of green where you suspect little sprites stand behind each blade with candles, the light glowing like summer sunlight through a lime popsicle.
Evidence of Cindy is popping up everywhere, prefaced almost always by a splash of chartreuse. Breaking through the winter worn earth, patient little bumps of green poke their heads up toward the sun. Following them, like adolescent girls at a coming-out ball, flowing dresses of color unfold in arms of green. Hyacinths, and daffodils, and tulips, planted when her hands could work the soil, when the bill of her gardening cap leaned like a cradle over the earth of her yard. She left us all with treasures, little cheery reminders. Her pansies wave in the morning breeze when I drive by her house, nodding, as if she were whispering from her unknown spot…I am here….I am here…I am here.