A chill gush of wind breathes through my open coat as I step out of the big black truck. I spent the past ten minutes sucking down an incredibly hot almond milk latte from the nearby Starbucks only a few hundred yards away. However, as I shut the squeaky metal door of the truck parked alongside an untouched path of concrete and entered the solemn silence of the eerie land of the dead, the Starbucks we were at a few minutes ago could have been lightyears away.
The slam of both of our doors gently released echoes that bounced back from the nearby hills which seemed to melt and slope in a smoother grass-adorned texture from the jagged rockier mountains that sat above them. My best friend and I met each other around at the front of the truck with cameras in our hands. The lenses laying gently again the outside of our coats would be the only thing separating our naked eyes from the potential wandering spirits of the cemetery.
My eyes, however, were fixated on the rows of fading names etched in dulled stone. Dates from the last three centuries decorate the hallowed ground like well-kept photo albums. My mind wondered further taking speculations of what life was life in the 1800s for the mountain-dwelling settlers of this land on its own long walk into the beyond.
My best friend, still fiddling around with the settings on the camera allowed her curiosity to wander towards capturing the macabre scenery with the paint strokes of her opening and closing lens. She creatively played games with the setting sun who tried to hide behind the little white wooden shiplap chapel with beautifully colorful and detailed stain glass windows.
“Oh, don’t move,” my friend said manually adjusting her camera again. As I was the only other living being in the cemetery at that time, I assumed it was me that the comment was being directed at amidst the silence. “I have an idea,” She said as she snapped a few more photos of me not sure if I should smile or look more serious in front of the rows of gravestones patiently waiting in the background.
She snapped more photos of me as I looked up at the dark, dried, and ominous dead trees looming down with their bare bent, and scraggly-looking branches stretched out wide. I continued my stare with my eyes transfixed to gaze upon the contrast of the dark geometric lines against the much lighter gray-bluish-colored sky. The combination of vastly different colors gently whispering that they are, in fact, the embodiment of a beautiful, yet lifeless, winter’s day.
My friend and I allowed ourselves to get lost in the calm and serene housing for death and decay, collecting our thoughts only to return, before the sun completely dipped its body into the darkening pool of brilliant fire behind the tallest mountains, to the land of the living.