My sister’s in-laws have this tradition of getting a bunch of people together and eating Easter breakfast as a picnic in the graveyard. The result is this sunny spread of bacon, sausage and sweet rolls against the backdrop of weathered gravestones, right around the time of year when you could actually first have a picnic outside and not freeze to death. There are so many layers of meaning and old tradition in this new tradition — the first sunrise Easter service was supposed to have been held in a graveyard, after all — that it’s almost weird it isn’t more widely practiced.
I‘ve always liked graveyards, which is maybe a little macabre, but it’s like this perfectly-preserved piece of history, these monuments to people I’ve never met and know nothing about. Always, walking around and reading ancient tombstones, I’m struck by how many were so young. Three years old, two years old. Sometimes there’s a whole row of small, flat markers, likely from one family, likely too expensive to inscript individually. So I take my almost-two-year-old niece by the hand and watch her trace her fingers over the lichen, watch her observe the birds and help her jump over the stones. How lucky she is to have been born in an age of vaccinations, of reproductive safeguard against her mother’s O-negative blood, of antibiotics and plentiful food and good shelter. Of love, because she is loved, widely and generously, by all the people of this gathering, and they watch her to make sure she does not trip headfirst into one of these gravestones.
Here, I am reminded to be glad for many things. Mine is an imperfect life in an imperfect world, but there is much to love and to rejoice over. Not least of this is the curiosity and discovery of these elfin children who can take a pair of reading glasses and find new understanding of vision; who never fail to make spring fitting again, even in the graveyard.