I've been missing Gary Trudeau (and the whole Doonesbury clan) while he's been on sabbatical...yesterday especially because it was Memorial Day. Last year's non-comic roll-call of fallen soldiers' names stay, yellowed with twelve months of days, on our fridge. It took two Sunday-size strips to fit them all from the previous year.
I was grateful to the TNT for printing names on the front page and took the list down with me to the labyrinth in our magical garden. I went for my own Memorial Day ceremony. On the way I met two deer, now mostly shed to their beautiful chestnut coats, and I wondered if we'll have twin fawns for a third year in a row. Time enough for that...we stood a moment to acknowledge each other and then I continued down the gentle slope. They went back to grazing.
It seems right to honour and miss the fallen when new life is bursting everywhere. It balances the need to remember and yet carry on, having faith in the patterns and cycle of natural life. It makes you still enough to feel deeply...and strong enough to understand moving on. I thought about this as I walked the pathway marked with stones, to the centre. Above was blue, below was green and, between, the saffron of scotch broom in full glorious bloom. As I became still in the middle of the labyrinth, a wee sparrow alit amongst the spray of yellow and waited.
I could hear cars and the deep thump of bass speakers passing through the S-bends of Home but all that is hidden from sight on our secret level of lawn. I hope the Chinook pilots can see the labyrinth when they pass over and know they're thought of with fondness in Home. My father would've noticed, had he still been flying those big-bellied Sikorskys. I remembered how he taught me to read the man-made markers, not necessarily on the map.
I began to read the names aloud upon the air, somehow as if it gave comfort to someone, somewhere. I read the names to honour and witness their passing, feeling part of an ancient line of gratitude for the ultimate service. After each name the wee sparrow sang, as if translating to the natural world...and sparrows replied from their own territories around Joe's Bay to pass the names on.
Walking back up to the house, I found myself wondering if BD would've liked that.