The gates where flung wide, great cast-iron gates, but hardly a soul was in site. A few gardeners in the distance. I walked in. Grass was everywhere, and well kept trees. A vast area. I walked up the hill in front of me staying on the road, I walked past the women in her fifties who was down on her knees sobbing, while a young man stood nearby silently, ready with a bouquet of flowers. I kept walking, past the men shoveling soft brown earth, on to the upper plateau of this sacred garden. I occasionally stopped to read a name hear or there. Some short, some long. "Carrie" or "John Doe, beloved husband and father" chiseled in stone. And usually, but not always the dates, which revealed the age. I walked on. I was drawn to several mausoleums or monuments, or castles of remembrance. Call them what you will. They stood out on the green grass. Stone sentinels. One with parthenon inspired pillars, another shaped like a pyramid. I looked in on the stacked sarcophagi, some with whole families who had lived as long ago as 1810.
I walked on, as a nearby gardener drove past graves and removed still fresh flowers left by the living. Then I saw a women sitting outside of the perimeter fence near the edge of the cliff, what was she doing leaning outward in a squatting position with her black hair pulled back. I approached her, then realized I had been looking at a stump with ivy grown up over it.
I walked on. As I passed two tall trees I was suddenly greeted by a chorus of birds, who knows how many, thirty, forty, sixty, all singing to each other up in those trees. Small birds, with little hearts beating four hundred times a minute. A community of little bird-hearts beating and little bird-beaks chirping and munching on little worms, in those trees, over the tombstones, on the cliffs above the ocean.
I walked on, and down the hill and left the sacred garden.