The circle of life
Montreal, QC, July 2009
About this photo: Thematic Photographic explores "The grass is always greener" through next Wednesday. If you've got a grass-themed photograph to share, please click here.I had come to this cemetery with my father last summer* because I wanted to know where all of our relatives were buried, and I knew my father wouldn't always be around to show me the way.
Sadly, I was right, but I'm still glad I got the chance to explore with him, and to spend an afternoon connecting with him. As I stumble from one milestone in the grieving process to another, it's one of the little things that I hold on to. I've learned that I'm surrounded by a lot of these little things, and every one of them will at one point or another reveal itself to me. I just have to take the time to stop and appreciate them for whatever they are.
There's no personal significance to this particular spot in the cemetery, as the stones behind the tree stump don't belong to anyone we know. But as we walked past this spot, I paused over the stump because the symbolism of a dead tree in this place was too powerful to ignore. I looked for signs of new growth amid the long-since-chopped tree but couldn't find any. Maybe someday the circle of life will show itself here.
Your turn: What is the lesson of this place?
One more thing: Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette captured a bronze medal at the Vancouver Olympics tonight. Earlier in the evening, our country's women's hockey team struck gold. Yet it is Ms. Rochette's bronze that sears itself into my brain. Because her mom died just after arriving in Vancouver to watch her skate. And despite the fact that the world would have understood had she packed up her skates and headed home, she decided to skate. If ever we needed proof that sport still holds the capability to teach us, in stark relief, the meaning of life, we were reminded of this tonight.
I'll think of Ms. Rochette every time I find myself staring into a dark place wondering what I'm supposed to do next. I'll focus on the things that define me, and I'll dig into them, deeply. Because that's what this hero among us chose to do. Because as hard as it may seem, life indeed does go on.
* I wrote about this day in these earlier blog entries: