Grave of a Friend
by Harrison Lapahie Jr. (Diné)

Rain, dismal rain, was my sole companion as I walked through the gate and the solemn rock post. I visit this place once a week. I don't know why the park has much prettier trees and it even has a pond with ducks and geese that honk so loud one could feel depressed. Then why is it I came to this place? The question resounded through my mind as I walked across a grassy hill, disturbing the shells of human spirits who might have once walked this same ominous place and felt the same eeriness that I felt now.

I stopped for a moment and looked up to the heavens, but my vision was abrupted by the presence of the large, barren oak trees silhouetted against the grey sky. The scene made me shudder, so I continued to slosh my way toward my ultimate destination. I quickly walked past blurry gravestones I could not recall. These gravestones seemed to symbolize much of man's past ..... just faded memories.

I reached the crest of the hill and saw more gravestones along the downward slope and in the basin below. I started down the hill and slipped twice on the slippery grass. The wind began to blow and strange noises began to come from the top of the large oaks. I began to get somewhat anxious to get away from this place. I quickly search the area for her grave. There were so many graves. How could I be sure which one was hers? My memory had gone fuzzy through my years. Even the rain and strange sounds coming from this place of eternal rest, made my seeing much worst. It all came back to me as quickly as it had left though. There is a lonely corner along the rock wall which was the grave of my friend.

I walked much slower now. I almost felt reverent, like I should take my shoes off for it was a holy place to me. I knelt down on my knees on the soaking grass in the drenching rain and stared for what seemed to be hours. The green grass which covered her seemed so lush and alive. It almost gave me hope that somewhere she was still existing and that this is what the grass symbolized. Over her head was the marble gravestone which told of her birth and death. So little, I thought. There was so much more.

Over her grave was a small red maple tree. It was the only tree I had seen in the whole cemetery that still had a few, stubborn leaves desperately clinging in the now violent wind and pelting rain. So very much like her I thought. She always did hold onto life like this. The other graves and even the awesome oaks faded into the background so all my attention focused on her grave. I don't remember what I was thinking or how long I was there. Time seemed to be one with the wind and rain.

I don't believe anyone else was there, but if they were, I'm sure they would have seen something they probably wouldn't understand. Beneath the wind, rain, and the oak trees, I became the young boy in front of a gravestone kneeling beneath a small maple tree with a drenched faded piece of paper, singing some song of what used to be.

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Creator(s): Harrison Lapahie Jr.
Dated Created: 06/01/1998
Version: 2.0
Updated: 11/22/2009
Curator(s): Harrison Lapahie Jr.
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