My brother mentioned an old family cemetery on the side of a country road near his home that had always intrigued him but which he had never visited. I jumped at the chance to explore it with him. We grabbed some paper and chalk for rubbings and headed to the cemetery.
It was on the side of a well-traveled country road and was fenced on three sides by a hand stacked stone wall. Three families were buried there, inter-related aunts, uncles, fathers, mothers, infants, grandparents, children; some having lived long and others not at all. My sweet brother knelt and pulled weeds and swept dead leaves off the plaques of babes who died before they had a chance to live. The oldest grave we could identify had a birth date of 1796 and the newest grave was from 2000. Most of the gravestones were so aged and weather worn the names and dates were indecipherable which somehow seemed to enhance the feeling of serenity and peace. The very age of the stones symbolized the continuity and endurance of these three families.
There was nothing dark or macabre about visiting this old graveyard. On the contrary, as cars sped by there remained a feeling of absolute peace and grace, solidity, endurance, serenity and love. A Civil War corporal lay beside an elderly man with the same name. What could be more beautiful than a place where people who loved, lived, and died as family rest together eternally?