Thursday, November 25, 2004


I went out walking late this afternoon to shake off my Thanksgiving postprandial torpor and to enjoy the last moments of a strangely balmy day. The weatherman had promised an abrupt shift toward evening: high winds, rain, thunder possible, temperatures plunging from the sixties to the thirties. Already clouds were gathering -- low, gray agitated clouds, darkest in the west.

I decided to walk through the little cemetary around the corner. As I passed through the gate I noticed a small, white rectangular sign: You must leave by dusk. Or you shall be deemed a trespasser. This is not a playground. I looked around nervously. It could well be construed as dusk. But it was not really that late, just cloudy ! Plus I was certainly not playing. Or was I ? What is play, anyway ? Skateboarding ? Strolling ? Communing with the dead ? I headed up a small rise, graves on either side, imagining the cemetary gates swinging shut behind me, imagining being trapped in the graveyard overnight, imagining being cuffed and hauled off by the cemetary police. Or at least by some deputized gravedigger wielding a dangerous, sod-encrusted shovel:

Dinchoo see da sign, lady ?

I could lie ! It's a very small sign. One could even call it inconspicuous ! But would he believe me ? What if he'd seen me read it ? And why is he talking like a character in a Raymond Chandler novel ?

Suddenly something disturbed my noirish revery: sinuous against the grim granite block of a headstone, flagrant in the gathering darkness, bloomed a hot pink lawn flamingo -- right from the sod of a grave.

I relaxed. The sign was just kidding. It was a playground after all. And I was welcome. I was more than welcome.

I was right at home.

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