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March 17, 2012 / betweenstops

Gone

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There is something dying in the cemetery. Not something that died a long time ago, but something that is dying now. Every time I drive down the hill from my house I see the monstrously tall orange metal crane taking out living beings that have been there so long a time.
I called, like many others and was told “We are taking them out because they are not indigenous. They are not good for native life in California”. At what point does something become indigenous i wondered. There was no use arguing with him. My phone call had been passed from the Hispanic woman who answered it, to another woman and finally to this slick gentleman who claimed they were not harming the habitat. “What about all the wild turkeys on the road now, the deer looking lost, the young ones, jumping here and there?” There was no use arguing with him. He told me there was no owl in the tree, like people say. The cemetery is privately owned. It is our neighborhood but it is his Cemetery.
Then I realized what his cemetery wants. It wants to keep us out. No more walking there with our dogs, no more random aimless teenagers killing time. No more people walking quietly after they pass through the hole in the chain link fence. We walked practically hidden on crumbling cracked cement pathways covered with fallen Eucalyptus leaves amid the fallen over cement tombstone.
“This is the unendowed part of the cemetery”, he says, like i don’t know that. The Hearst Family mausoleum designed by Julia Morgan is on the other side of the hill.
My sister, my father, my mother and some of my friends are buried in the ground. I have never visited any of the graves after the funeral. I have never for a moment thought they were there. They are not there. The stone is. The grass is. The birds are. The trees were.

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