Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Courage to Explore

I scanned the graveyard, looking for evidence that the corpses left here had meant something. I was looking for a sign, a headstone. Anything. Just a hint that said, "Once upon a time, those left here mattered." Not to me, perhaps, but to someone. Anyone. Where, I wondered, were the signs of grief at their passing?

While I gazed at the huge expanse of discarded tombs and open graves and mounds of empty, sterile earth, I felt as if my gaze was returned by every one of the inhabitants, looking to me as a savior, someone who would prove that someone really did care. They looked at me in anticipation that I would revive them and acknowledge them for the potential they once had, and might still have.

But the headstones, if that's what they were—those broken markers struggling for visibility from beneath an eternity of snow and seasons—had long since seen any meticulously carved messages etched and eroded away. The funereal winds, heavy with the dust they, themselves, had pumped into the tense atmosphere, had erased any messages that may have been destined for remembrance.

This graveyard was filled with invisible skeletons, hidden as they were beneath the accumulated detritus of wishes and dreams and even some prayers. But I knew that not all of the denizens of this place were dead. Their hope, as they clung to the tight enclosure that surrounded this expansive plot, was palpable. I could sense that they remained barely alive, hoping someone, anyone, would come to understand that they were not dead...they had simply been left for dead. They were struggling, hard, to take in another fresh breath that would revive them and allow them to step back into the world. They wanted someone to breathe new life into them.
But this is the place where we are told they are meant to be buried.

Some of them were aborted shortly after birth. Others tried valiantly to survive what were no doubt inauspicious beginnings. Many, perhaps most, of them might have been saved if given enough nourishment and encouragement and a safe place to develop and grow.

But they failed to thrive in this sometimes cruel world and so were quietly extinguished and sent to the graveyard. Most of them, who were undeveloped and unnourished, passed silently from consciousness without notice. And here is their final resting place. Does anyone have the courage to open the caskets and explore this graveyard, this place where so many have died alone and unfulfilled?
This is the graveyard of ideas.

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