Some indication

In a rather tossed-off moment last week, Greta observed that I did not really care about gravestones when she mention that there were several cemeteries along Highway 71 just south of Fayetteville, AR that I might stop and look at. I didn't object at the time but the comment sat on me like moss and I couldn't figure out if she was right or not. In a sense, she is. For all of my enthusiasm for cemeteries as places of memory and dedication, I don't immediately seek out stone markers that to tell me about the space. I'm thinking now about the afternoon in which I drove over to see the Confederate cemetery she told about which lay in a woods near her house. I pulled up to the gate but didn't go beyond it, the white marble statues were plenty visible from the road. Right outside the gate was a family cemetery, smaller but just as walled off, inside of which large headstones with lettering sat. I could read them as I walked by them to inspect a few smaller, misaligned headstones that were planted among the leaves and branches. "Sally" was the only word on one, the others were too worn to read or had fallen face-down into their sunken lot. These were the slave graves Greta had told me about. I gently stepped around whatever stones lay on the ground, careful that my footsteps avoided going back in the direction from which I came.