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February 13th, 2010 / #bliss, #family

In the middle of a corn field just outside a corn town about an hour southwest of Chicago, there is a cemetery. It has been the final resting place for an entire community of corn-fed people for what I can only assume has been hundreds of years, judging from the illegibly worn grave markers that lie underneath tall oaks and maples in the back corner of the place. The cemetery is unofficially and very roughly divided down the middle, with folks from either one of the two major families in the town on each side, and as you move down the path toward the rear of the field there is a hand-pumped water well that people use to water the flowers that they bring to honor their kin. On one side of the yard is a two lane road, and across that road the corn seems to go on forever, save for the old wooden barn that rises above the stalks in the distance. On the other three sides of the yard, past the trees that shade the benches and cracked stones, there is only corn.

My father took me to this place months ago. He was born in the town, only a couple of miles down the two lane road. I had never been to this town before, and I had never known the relatives I was visiting in that cemetery. But one thing stood out to me above all others as we wandered around looking at people that we never knew but with whom we probably share some genes. This was the calmest place I have ever seen.

I know that all cemeteries are meant to be calm, but it is impossible to find such tranquility in the city. In the city, the daily activity that surrounds any place intended for quiet and reflection is bound to seep in. But in this place, the only possible distraction might be a sluggish tractor chugging up the two lane road. More often than not, however, the only sound you hear is the wind among the stalks of corn. This is the ultimate calm, and this is where I want to be buried.

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  1. Sam spoke up on February 24, 2010.

    I love this post! You write so vividly and descriptively. Just another reason you should have been a journalism major. Also, fun fact: my mom already bought me a burial plot in a rural cemetery in Tennessee where half of my family is buried. You could probably buy your plot now too!

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