Monday, July 19, 2010

A transluscent moment

I stayed in the car while she put wild flowers on her grandmother’s grave. It wasn’t a planned visit. We were on our way to breathe fresh air in the hills on a blue sky Saturday. It was unseasonably warm, despite the storybook snow-capped peaks in the distance. She had told me stories of her grandmother in the car, love-laden, childhood reminiscing, perfect for an open-skied, back route road trip.

It was an unknown experience for me, not the graveyard, but visiting someone I ‘know’ in a graveyard. My mother is a social anthropologist and is fascinated by graveyards so I spent hours as a child trailing around behind my parents in any graveyard we happened to pass by. My family, however, are of the cremation sort.

It was a typical small town South African graveyard (I am, due to the above-mentioned fascination of my mother, a well-seasoned graveyard connoisseur, for lack of a better word), slightly dilapidated, a mix of small, simple headstones and huge granite monoliths, all with heart-wrenching inscriptions. I stayed in the car while she walked through them to her grandmother’s and laid wild flowers on it. I was taken aback by my rush of emotion watching her bend down at the grave. And then I just felt priviledged. To have been allowed to be there.

Sometimes it’s the tiny transluscent moments that make one step back and look properly, isn’t it?


Angela said...

I love graveyards. They are so quiet. All struggle over, birds in the air and flowers on the ground.
I sometimes sit on a bench there and read a book. Nobody sems to mind.
And grandmothers are generally the best.

Family Affairs said...

I had that very same feeling visiting my Grandfather's grave with my father in Lusaka.....Lxx

Shiny said...

Geli - you said it!

L - it's wierd isn't it? But in a nice way