My First Funeral

 I’ve been obsessed with cemeteries since I organized

my first funeral.Pregnant guppy

When I was a kid, one of several fishes my sisters and I kept in a freshwater aquarium died.  Since we didn’t care about him much, he didn’t really even have a name. Until we found him belly-up. Then he had to have a name – for the TOMBSTONE.

Deciding on Flashy, we made a sparkly, little casket out of aluminum foil lined with a folded square of soft, pink toilet paper. With me leading the way, I was the oldest, we carried his body slowly, in procession through the living room, the kitchen, out the back door.

At the graveside, we sang swing low, sweet chaaar-ri-ah-aht!  Words were said – sad, respectful ones about Flashy’s tragically short life.

We discussed the six-feet-under concept, but our mother convinced us — I believe her exact words were, “No, you will NOT dig a six foot hole by the back patio!”  — that six inches would be more than enough for a creature Flashy’s size.

We buried him under the Skunk bush. That was our nickname for a rare and gorgeous species of Azalea that blooms a brilliant orange, but has the unfortunately pungent scent of skunk.English: Azalea 'Hinodegiri' in full flower in...

Flashy wouldn’t mind the smell. We marked his final resting place with a Popsicle-stick-cross beautified with crayon.  There may have been tears, but I don’t think so. The feeling I remember most about the whole affair is glee.

Virginia City, Nevada – A most magical afternoon

This is the wild west, cowboy country.

Several years ago, sheer luck led me to the mountains of Nevada on a gorgeous, clear afternoon. Serendipity and a rental car brought me to Virginia City, its fabulous cowboy cemetery, and the most magical hour I’ve ever spent wandering among tombstones. There was a full solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse projected on tomstone

Have you ever seen a solar eclipse? You can only look at them through special lenses or watch their shadows through a pinhole projector. In the cemetery that day, nature’s pinhole projectors, the leaves on the trees above the graves, cast these eclipse shadows.

Eclipse shadows

Even before I realized that this rare cosmic event was happening, the Virginia City cemetery took my breath away. Spring in the mountains was just so gorgeous!

Flowering bush

Best tombstone tourist experience ever!

Virginia City, Nevada