I clear away the oak leaves buried at the base of his sandstone marker. I lay my fingers against the slant of stone. It’s been too long.
As P kneels to take pictures that capture the stone and the golden light of the fall day, I stand and breath deep. The scent of fallen oak leaves is one of my favorites – the memories of leaf piles and chilly football games. Now, I layer on this place with that scent. Richer.
We walk around the massive tree in the middle of the graveyard and come to Ben’s stone. Wrought perfect, an arch at the top that the Romans would respect. P ducks low to take another photo.
Then, to Jesse’s grave, the stone almost sunken in, but so beautifully carved. A filigree of gift. As I push back leaves, I find – for the first time – a horizontal line etched into the sandstone. I don’t know it’s purpose, but to find anything connected to these people, this is blessing.
We are here to take photos for the book cover, the dressing on the words that will never be enough to honor these people. The filigree of text never quite adequate, but at least more.
As P and Dad walk over toward the barn, I stand quiet, my feet stilled against the rustle of oak leaves. I breathe deep and whisper. “Thank you. Thank you.”
My book You Will Not Be Forgotten: The Slaves Who Built My Home will be available in just a few weeks. If you’d like to be involved in the process of bringing that book to print by giving your opinion about the cover, the design, the marketing, please let me know. You’ll get a free copy of the book as well as special access to all the steps of the publishing process. Plus, you’ll be invited to the book release party here at God’s Whisper Farm. Just comment below, and I”ll get you into the loop. Thanks.