I grew up in very rural Virginia with an old family cemetery in the middle of the back yard. Romulus Jones and his descendants evidently wanted the family close forever, even visible from the back porch.
For us a cemetery on the property was no big deal, tho' to some it was unnerving - how silly. To me it was a privilege and honor to be granted this special responsibility. I cleaned and weeded. Watched the iris bloom. Pulled honeysuckle and caught poison ivy. Planted flowers and pruned the mock orange bush. While others didn't seem to notice, it was the least I could do.
On the road I still visit family and church-yard cemeteries. Usually for lunch and a picture or two. A moment to dwell on everyday lives of everyday people laid to rest, connecting then to now. Unmarked field stones, a weathered marble slab, tilted memorials.
"Why," my analytical side questions. Why the attachment, why the affection, why the connection to the past. Keen for insights, I've even read romantic works like Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard (1750). But, with little clarification. After all, what's to clarify here, but to be. To rest for a precious moment, to reflect and above all to thank Romulus Jones.
© r0727-25 Country Church-Yard
Floyd County, Virginia
Wednesday 8 June 1994