In January 2015 the hearse with Mary’s coffin went down the avenue past the field with the horses, past the middle gate and an unsure fence of low stones and doubtful mending. The hearse was the engine of our train of cars filled with mourners, following her.
After all the sweets were eaten and sweet things were said, a sweet thing happened when that herd of horses found their way through that broken fence up to the house, standing on the hill.
A red stallion, followed by mares and foals and other horses, led them. They galloped in unison, passed the grievers now gathered in front of the house, their hooves sinking in the rain soaked lawn, deep enough for pots of flowers to be settled in. I could almost see Mary riding on the lead horse, shouting, “look, I am free now,” her long curly brown hair restored and flowing out behind her in the gallop away from us.
Amid out stretched arms, shouts and phone calls, the horses left as a train down the avenue, galloping, close together, on that lovely mild evening, sun setting.
The young family, whose charges those horses were, arrived with cars and two young boys. Without fear they got up in the faces of the horses, to have them jump over the stones and fence back into their plowed up field. This field had been fallow since the death of Sonnie, who died a few years ago. The horse’s job, to plow up the matted grass and scrub getting it ready for another seeding. The wild red stallion was the last, but he did not leap over, in spite of fearless encouragement with shouts and arms and slaps. The young boys were called on to stop the stallion as he broke away by the side of the jeep, the boys jumping for safety. The father pleaded for them to stop him as he shouted, “He is blind in one eye” repeatedly.
The stallion was corralled at the road gate. In the gathering dusk, only the stallion’s head showed over the hedge, cut straight and tight for the funeral.
Meeting the boys, whose great grandfather was brother to my grandfather was the other great pleasure of the evening. To see the family likeness in the round faces and beautiful eyes, to hear their feelings of pleasure and fear mixed, to see them wait in a lighted car for their parents as they talked and laughed together.
This field once changed hands into those of my grandmother’s family at her wedding but an untimely death of her husband danced it back and it went back and forth a few more times and now it is back with the original family after a recent sale. It lies beside the avenue that took my grandfather out in his hearse, horses pulling his carriage, a flu victim, in 1917. My grandmother, his wife, and my mother and father also went out this avenue and now my sister Mary. May I manage to remember my destination also.
I wrote the following poem in school a few years ago.
Invasive, flare along the banks,
Fifty years hence, the seeds over our heads
The hearse lit up by the bright poppy
Carrying seeds back to the underworld
Altered by experience
Some shriveled, some swollen by sunshine
Seeds of souls
In life choice
In death no choice
Dreams of Mary.
Mary was concerned with her soul while on this earth. We see Mary in our dreams and she tells us love is the only thing that is important. She says in the dream that she is now only concerned with love, where she is and that we should take mind, as this little earth is the best place in the universe to practice such a virtue.