Thursday, October 18, 2012


The man placed the box of "grandpa's" ashes in the niche. Slowly, deliberately, methodically.

We all took a deep breath.  The stone mason approached.

He walked slowly, carrying several buckets of tools and materials.  He knelt down and reached for the engraved plaque.  He held it in his hands, closes his eyes, and bows his head. Silence covered the space.

We all took a deep breath.

Breaking the silence was the spatula, scraping the mortar on the edges of the engraved plaque. Scrrrrk scrrrk scrrrk scrrrk.  He stood and swiped mortar on the edges of the niche, echoing in the boxy space. Scrrrok. Scrrrok Scrrrok Scrrrok.

We all took a deep breath.

He placed the plaque on the niche, using the level to ensure it was square. He braced the corners with small plastic nibs and sealed the covering plaque in its place.  He gently wiped clean the plaque, the neighboring niches, the drips on the ground.

He paused, placed his hand on the name and said a prayer.

What a juxtaposition: the mortar of earth and ash contrasted with the breath of eternal life.  Surely this is sacred ground!

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