My Mom's coffin was the blackest thing I have ever seen. Like Malevich's painting. Like a black hole in space. Watching the big yellow front end loader dig out just enough space to lower her into the ground I considered the soil composition (lots of sand) and the absurdity of a box inside another concrete box. It rained. We stood in a loose circle around the hole watching the loader's claw violently tearing at the sodden earth again and again and then pushing a big metal frame down to keep the sidewalls of earth from collapsing. When the casket was lowered into the ground I looked at my nephew; his expression is forever etched into my mind. As is the sound of the soil hitting the box.
The universe has shifted. I expected and even prayed for this death. I didnt realize how heartbroken I would be once it happened. Somehow I am not the same person I used to be. There's nothing to be done about it.
My sister longed for a road trip and drove me back to the ATL. I-75 bottlenecked at the Turnpike with sunburnt spring break kids from northern colleges and big rigs inching along under a perfect dome of florida blue. We got off and went west on 44 and north on 27. I was hoping for more marshy landscapes but it was mostly Florida scrub with only the Withlacoochee river to offer a water view. We stopped for lunch at the Cypress Inn for some soul healing fried food. They had sold out of the mullet but we found the massive serving of grouper agreeable along with hushpuppies and sub-par mashed potatoes. The swamp cabbage was not up to snuff. According to my sister it should have been sauteed in butter and left mostly alone. (Swamp cabbage is hearts-of-palm in case you didn't know.)
When we crossed over the Georgia border the landscape began to roll a bit and it was lovely. If you have a few extra hours, like 5, then this is the way to go. No billboards. Lots of pecan trees and grassy glades dotted with a yellow flowered cover crop. There was yard art and little towns and trailers and beautiful cows. We pulled into Thomasville Ga, the rose capital of the south (so they say) and tracked down a nursery that carried a certain rose my Mom loved. The nursery was closed but they opened it for us anyway and we left with 5 rose bushes. The last 4 hours were mostly dark and quiet until erupting into a big city friday night. Another traffic jam forced us off the super slab offering an opportunity to expose my sister to the Atlanta she has never seen.
Now I am back at Chickory alone at last. Its spring. I may have missed my window to have the tree work done. They have all leafed out which means I will get less done for the same money. Maybe I should wait for winter. But the land is gorgeous in its fresh greens and Easter colored blooming trees and shrubs. Palm Sunday was glorious after the big rain and high winds of early saturday morning. As we enter the most solemn week of the year, I am reminded of something I read at my Mom's funeral:
"All the works of the Lord are exceedingly good"
**Thank you all, for your kind words and comments regarding my Mother's death. I did see the special posts and tributes that you made, and I promise to get to your blogs and thank you properly. Know that I cherish you all as my blog family and that your kindness has been remarkable in its gift of healing.