Such rain today! Coming back to the house at about eleven, I looked northwest from the top deck of the high I-5 bridge, up and over to the Ballard fishing port. Just past the two bridges that mark Fremont, the rain faded the city and boats to foggy gray. Looking up, above my fellow motorists, I could see that the clouds were moving briskly from southwest to northeast. It seemed likely that the rain would hit the freeway before I wheeled into the drive.
And so it was. Unloading the car, I was soaked though. I thought it unlikely that the dog would get his walk. Amazingly, around 3, the sun emerged, and the sodden ground steamed. A quick look at wunderground.com made it clear the area itself was clear for at least an hour or two, and so we headed off to the cemetery. Memorial Day weekend is like the Christmas of cemeteries, I think. All last week the grounds crew were working absolutely as long as they could, trimming and cutting and raking and who-knows-what. Today, two days after the holiday, the graves are bedecked with botted plants ad cut flowers, American flags twitching and snapping in the breeze.
I’ll walk the dog in the graveyard about three times a week, mostly on days I do not have an errand that takes me more than a mile from the house, and I am coming to know the place fairly well. Nearly every time I take Rocket over, though, something else strikes my eye. There’s a man who, two years ago, parked his worn pickup in the same place every day at 4pm, carted a chair to a grave, and read until the light failed. He would toss breadcrumbs to the birds. Over the past couple of years, his truck became a late-model sedan, and his visits came earlier in the day, and now they are less predictable. I haven’t ever walked over to his spot and made the acquaintance of his bereaver.
There’s the marker dedicated to the memory of the ‘father’ of baseball in the Pacific Northwest, the row of inexpensive, cast-concrete markers commemorating a score of infants both born and decedent in 1919 and 1920, presumably taken to the bosom of Old Man Influenza. There’s the grave of a Marine who lost his life in 200-something at 18, always adorned with some keepsake, sometimes things like an inkjet-printed all-access pass. I’m guessing he held fast; the all-access placard’s colors run freely in our sodden spring.
Today, for no particular reason, I noticed one of the many graves which had been visited and adorned with flowers. The person memorialized was born in 1958 and passed on in 2002. Without consciously doing the math, I realized that the remains of that person had belonged to someone who lived just as long as I have now, today. It was a peculiar feeling.
There’s no promised relief from our wintry spring – just yesterday I saw a satellite image depicting solid cloud cover stretching along the jet stream from Japan to the Pacific Northwest. The Pineapple Express is going to persist, it seems. I delayed planting my garden this year. As it happens, I planted a kitten before I planted my crops. This weekend, seven days after we buried her, I noticed the first upshoots in my raised beds. The soil’s plenty warm, and plenty moist, and the day lasts nearly 15 hours already. There’ll be a fine crop, I’m sure.