Time moves slowly. Beneath me a life – once lived – slowly gives itself back so something else will be. Its thoughts and choices, celebrations and regrets, a memory kept by some, lost by others. Here I stand, witness and marker, as time slowly moves from then to now to then again.
Trees and birds, rise and sing. Grass grows and sleeps. Snow falls and dresses all in whispered silence. Bunnies hop, ants crawl, deer dance and gardens bloom. And here I remain, weathered and remembering. With each new stone added to the grounds we become a collection of others. Gathered together in earthen funerary – sometimes bound to one another and other times simply marking a journey alone that arrives in the Stone Church’s field of those who were.
The other, upon whom I stalwart stand, was no different than those who come with flowers and chairs. Some come but once, others sit at stones becoming near as still as we and others arrive with lament, perhaps a dram poured to mark the sun’s passing of another revolution since a departure. This one – a Gunn – walked when the time demanded hospitality: sharing.
What was shared by those who were here first with the others coming from away was offered even in the tension of relationships precarious. When words such as treaty and covenant, promise and compromise were parlayed, even though understood differently. As time proceeded, this Gunn was one of those who came to walk between the first ones and the arrivers: a person touched by both worlds, sometimes the intermediary, other times the shunned.
Sometimes the middle walkers helped them all see that their differences were gift and complement. Sometimes the middle walkers became those blamed for promises broken. Sometimes the middle walkers took what was best from away and from here and created something new, something glorious. Whether that was sounds mixed anew called or food mingled, in moments of creativity, all was shared deeply between all three.
Time moves slowly. In this time, the mingling seems paused and sharing separated. There the first ones walk, walled from land once called home. There the arrivers occupy what was once the first’s and forget what was offered and learned. And those who middle walk, sometimes return, sometimes remember the way back to the stones.
Perhaps remembering is hopeful. Perhaps awakening to what was, might allow those beneath our stones to see promises met, and those broken, mended. In this field of stones, we stand silent witnesses to what was then, is now and once again will then be …