Remains of a Day. Part One of Three.

My mother’s ashes were carefully poured into several small popcorn paper bags. The bags were evenly divided into two mom-made Christmas stockings. One with the name “Mom” and a small jingle bell dangling and the other with the name “Russ” with a small jingle bell dangling. Russ was her second husband who preceded her in death. The two stockings were placed inside a cloth bag with giraffe skin material and a print of a giraffe on one side. My niece mentioned that mom would have done the same thing. Mom would triple bag the fragile stuff when she worked as a cashier.

One hundred years from now someone might dig up two jingle bells.

Right underneath the sycamore tree that my mother loved sat a three to four foot hole sixteen inches in diameter. My brother-in-law Mike prepared it earlier in the day and next to it was piled moist orange earth. The bonfire was a couple of yards away and the wind lightly sprinkled ash on us with a scent of carbon dated air. We gathered around and Margie held the weighted sack. There were eleven people circled, but I felt a much larger crowd, like when we took the “Big Picture” at family reunions.

One hundred years from now a reunion might take place around a celestial mountain lake.

I read a poem about the tree that stood over us. The sycamore stood over one hundred feet tall. My mother would often ask my sister Marge to take pictures of it. Mom requested to be placed under its shadow and embraced by its roots. I had come earlier in the day to sit under it, walk around it, and look at it from a distance. Its grandeur and uniqueness was breathtaking. Maybe in an odd sense it took my mother’s breath away. At its base there were ridges, grooves, and gray/black terrain that gives way to smooth ivory skin as it reached to the sky. My wife said to me that my mother’s skin was beautiful, even after her death.

One hundred years from now many branches will have fallen and maybe this monument of God’s artistry will be gone. Maybe this memorial will fall away from all memory.

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