Sunday, October 14, 2018

On the ground, again

Last spring was relatively wet. There was a lot of rain and the ground in the vineyard was mushy. At one point, one of the growers dumped a pile of broken roof tiles near his vines. Over the next few days, he spread them out, filling in low spots between rows so his tractor wouldn't sink in the mud. As they get run over and over, the tiles break into smaller and smaller pieces.

Terra cotta on the terra fresca.

Saturday was a beautiful day for a funeral. Warm, bright and sunny. It wasn't really a funeral so much as it was a burial. And it was not the least bit religious. Most people wore casual clothes, mostly jeans, including the mayor and the family of the deceased (us, too). Everyone in attendance gathered around the casket in the cemetery. The funeral director said some words about Daniel, more or less biographical, then asked for a minute of silence. Daniel's daughter read her remarks, struggling through tears, and another man read a poem. After that they played some music ("Memory" from Cats) while the attendees took turns putting flower petals on the casket. This seemed a strange ritual, to me. We all lined up, one of the funeral home staff held a bowl of flower petals. Each of us took a few petals from his bowl and then put them into another bowl that was on top of the casket. When that was done, the four funeral home staff took positions at each corner of the casket, bowed to each other, then carried the casket over to the plot and lowered it into the ground. We left at that point because Tasha had been waiting in the car for about an hour.

Our neighborhood was well represented. All but one of the permanent residents attended, and four of the people with summer homes in the neighborhood were there, too.


  1. As far as terra is concerned, this, to me, looks like terra incognita!

  2. Such a melancholy weekend. The flower petals are a touching action. I’ve never seen that.

  3. The Cat's Memory song would have surprised me, but it is good for the occasion. I like funerals usually because they honor the dead and give closure to the family. I've never been to a funeral in another country.

  4. It was good that you two went to the funeral. We had memorial services (only) for my parents -- lots and lots of photos, and food, and family and friends. Both times, we went back to their home town (where all of our relatives are) in Massachusetts, to have the memorial. I guess it does bring closure.

  5. broken clay pots are everywhere here esp. as the roofs are all tiled with such. I've often wondered what becomes of them in time.

  6. chm, haha!

    mitch, first time for me, too, but Ken says they did it at two other funerals he attended.

    evelyn, it made me smile -- show tunes at a funeral!

    judy, it was a good experience, albeit at a sad occasion.

    michael, ashes to ashes and all that.

  7. In New York and Connecticut it is a ritual to strew flower petals directly over the casket once it has been lowered slowly down into the ground at the end of the ceremony. The petals gently flow down over the casket and earth. I always thought it was a lovely final way to say goodbye. During Catholic Easter processions, little children carry baskets of flower petals and walk down the aisles strewing them. It's quite a beautiful ritual. I'm curious now and will do a little research about it.


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