I was able to knock off early today. I presided at a memorial service over the weekend, so my boss gave me the afternoon off.
Since it was a beautiful fall day I headed for my favorite spot, the cemetery on the south end of town. It has everything; a gorgeous view of Pompadour Butte, a steady wind, and most importantly – solitude. Not a lot of folks hang out there.
I pulled the canvas chair out of the trunk and sat in the bright sunshine on this cool autumn afternoon next to Ethel Rose’s headstone (it says she died in 1961). No one around. I could hear the traffic on I-5 behind – speeding cars and trucks rushing from here to there. A few small black birds fluttered anxiously across the cloudless deep blue sky. Big yellow leaves were lazily falling from the maple tree serving as my personal canopy. One landed on my head.
Contentment. Nowhere to be and no one needing me. After a long time of doing nothing and enjoying it, the thought bubbled up from deep inside – this is where I fit.
On the drive over talking heads were clamoring on the radio about the disaster Obamacare was creating and their opposites were regaling its saving graces. I switched from that noise to two guys arguing about how the refs had blown a call on Sunday and cost the Patriots the game against the Jets. This was Tuesday and they still couldn’t get past it. More noise.
I visited two patients earlier this morning, one not talking and the other one barely. Prayed for both.
That was past. Now I was just sitting in the quiet, looking at the beauty of the mountains in the autumn sunlight, watching leaves drift earthward, praying to my Maker and feeling grateful for such a blessed life. The joy of loving my wife, my son, and my work. Snuggled in my now way too large hoodie, basking in the golden sunlight, nowhere to be and nothing to do. I felt like the richest man on the planet.
This is where I fit. Here in this cemetery looking at nature’s loveliness, the world rushing off behind me, and me all alone with the God I love.
This is where I belong.
Another big long interlude of nothing was interrupted when another maple leaf fell on me. I noticed all those other big yellow leaves on the ground all around. Beautiful. And dying. These leaves would soon be decomposing to enrich the earth for next Spring’s growth.
The circle of life.
I realized one day too, I’ll be one of those decomposing bodies I visit daily, lying on a hospital bed waiting to depart. The question is, “Will I enrich those around me to experience new growth?”
But as for now, the sun is setting and I have to run off to the Y for my half hour on the rowing machine. It’s my way of attempting to delay this particular leaf’s falling from the tree of life just yet.