It’s Halloween night. Time to appease with candy treats the tricksters who appear at my door or look into my windows. Some brave souls in my village choose to climb up the hill to Grace Church in hopes of seeing a ghost or two. It’s said that on Halloween night, if you’re lucky, you’ll see a white apparition move among the gravestones.
I’m tempted to go up there myself tonight. I used to be scared of ghosts, but not anymore. When Caroline Elizabeth died almost nineteen years ago, the spirit world became a friendly place. She’s buried there at Grace Church. I will be, too.
The graveyard sits beside the church overlooking land that extends forever to the east. East of Eden is what I like to call that view, because the church is Eden, or home, to me. It’s a place where my ancestors gathered in life and now gather as bones and dust. It’s a place where souls were joined and separated in celebrations called weddings and funerals. It’s a place with a spiritual sense of being.
The church could be narrowed down to four walls and twenty hard pews. Should it burn to the ground, as it did around 1900, it would still be a place of Grace – a hallowed ground where Indians once trod. When I am long gone, those walls will crumble away. The woods surrounding the structure will enter via creeping vines and gradually reclaim the timbers and woodwork my great-grandfather helped design and carve.
I wonder if my daughter and I will watch on a Halloween night as young people creep into the overgrown churchyard. Maybe they will catch a glimpse of us as we look toward the east.
I hope they won’t be too scared. Perhaps one sensitive soul will feel our peace and appreciate the beauty of life and its ever-turning wheel of time. She might remain for a moment realizing she stands on cherished soil before she runs away into the night.
I imagine Caroline Elizabeth and I will smile at the girl’s brief insight before flying East of Eden into a golden light we call Home. We’ll be full of life, wonder and love. Together always. Funny thing about death, it doesn’t last forever.