Today is a terrible news day, the kind that mere words won't improve. On top of greater human tragedies, one of my very favorite singers and life travelers (Tom Petty) died. I didn't know what to do with my feelings this morning, so I went to the cemetery right next to my house. I've been going over there to hang out with the locals when I get overwhelmed. I always get some peace of mind and heart, sometimes I laugh at myself.
Today I plopped down in my gym clothes, face a little ruddy and teary, and sat next to the grave marker of a young baby who died about ten years ago. Her parents still leave a little tin can full of rocks and fresh flowers, sometimes a toy. I wondered about her story, but not too much, because I felt her light in my sadness and tiredness. The sun was shining and I could smell the buttersugar, smokey smell of young autumn in the air. I breathed it in and felt all the love around.
I exhaled and wished Tom P a beautiful cosmic journey and hope he and this kid get to have a jam together. They were both there for me today when I felt suffocated by evil and complexity. Just as I was sending the good vibes to them, I looked to the left, and noticed a little carved box. I went to check it out. It looks like someone, some time ago, half-buried a pretty little box under a bush by these graves. I gently opened it. Inside were two water-logged, ancient Pall Mall cigarettes. I wondered who they were for. Did one of the residents' loved ones bring it because they liked Pall Malls and wanted to have a smoke with them once in a while? Was it an offering? It couldn't be a teenager because no teenager on earth would smoke Pall Malls, let alone leave a box of them unsmoked. No matter. I felt a moment of inspiration.
I quit the habit of smoking many years ago, but I always have an emergency cigarette in my glove compartment, lest I come upon a tragic scene or traffic jam from hell. So I went and got my stale Camel Light out of the car, lit it up next to the treasure box, smoked one for Tom, blew a kiss to baby girl, and honestly felt about 100 lbs lighter.
Maybe someday I'll come back as a ghost in sneakers, smoking a cigarette, listening to The Stones in a cemetery. Doesn't sound so bad.