Yesterday morning Taylor and I ended our three-mile hike at Forever Fernwood, the cemetery originally named Sausalito Cemetery then Daphne Fernwood Cemetery. I’d been feeling a bit melancholy of late.
Perhaps world and domestic news contributed to that. Muhammad Ali – The Greatest – had just passed away. A tragedy of horrific proportions was perpetrated in Orlando with a gunman shooting down fifty people at a nightclub.
Perhaps everyday life has contributed to my melancholy as well. Perhaps it was just today. It happens. Even to the best of us; and there are many better than me.
It never fails to sadden me, in the wake of every tragedy (and scandal), how two camps form, one attacking the other, social media providing the platform to fan the flames of fire. I always think of the Fred Rogers quote when something horrific happens. The helpers are the heroes.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
As nature surrounds Taylor and I with every step, I think of both the wonderment and sanctity of life, how each one is important, how in God’s eyes, we are all His children, children that fight quite a bit.
“No life is more important than another. And nothing has been without purpose. Nothing. What if we are all part of a great pattern that we may someday understand? And one day, when we have done what we alone are capable of doing, we get to rise up and reunite with those we have loved the most forever embraced. What if we get to become stars?” — from “A Winter’s Tale”
With these thoughts, Taylor and I hiked our normal trail. This time, however, instead of going straight on the Alta Trail just before arriving back at the trailhead that opens into my apartment complex, we decided to turn left up the hill, which then takes us to a small plateau just before a somewhat steep decline. Pretty soon, we hike down the even steeper decline of steps that leads into the cemetery guarded by a large stone statue of a Hindu goddess. With stunning views of Mount Tamalpais and one of the first environmentally conscious green cemeteries “where land stewardship and restoration is integrated with cemetery and burial ritual”, the first burial at Fernwood was in 1891. The “heritage oak and bay trees have witnessed 120 years of history.”
Taylor gravitates towards a very specific tombstone, not every time but often enough that I know it means something. Today is one of those times. The burial space marks the life of a woman named Georgia. I love the epitaph on the marble stone marking it.
Neither of us have been to Fernwood in quite some time. When Derek’s dog Tucker passed earlier this year, we stumbled upon this oasis near my home for the first time. And it was then that Taylor made a beeline for Georgia. Tucker passed when he and Derek were visiting his folks outside Atlanta. In my mind, Taylor was having a commune with Tucker at that very moment. And so today we went back there again, and like before Taylor sat in front of this grave. We prayed for the dogs that have passed thru my life and our lives: Taylor’s blood brother Lawrence, his other brothers Jackyboy, Kalib, Fozzy, Tucker, Tyson, and Harrison & Bailey. It was our way of praying for the world.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I choose love, oh sweet child o’mine.
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ALWAYS BE EPIC.