Tuesday, September 01, 2009

On our way up the mountain we stopped a a viewpoint between clouds and next to a rocky outcrop, one that looked down on a valley ropey with trees. A group of people stood clustered at the base of the outcrop, and one man stood at the edge with a metal box in his hands. I figured they were geocaching, and while I found it unusual when the man mentioned something about surgical staples I didn't even pause to think about it. Who knew what one might find in those boxes, after all, and I had flowers to catalog and trees to introduce myself to.

It was only when we were heading back to the car and my friend offhandedly mentioned the people scattering ashes that I really paused and considered what had transpired on those rocks. The huddle of people, the forced laughs, the surgical staples. Standing in the wind and the traveling wisps of clouds, saying goodbye.

We tumbled back into the car like puppies, eager to continue toward the top and our picnic, forgetting in minutes about those people and their sad errand. I like to imagine that they too had a picnic planned somewhere up in the clouds where they would reminisce about the person they had just surrendered to the breezes and the carpets of purple wildflowers.

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