What it must be like to pass by the bones of your ancestors, day in and day out, on the way to the grocery store, late at night after an evening drinking. Buried on the family plot next to the cottage that has weathered storms and sadness, built by the hands of your grandfather. There is no denying your mortality. Your last name will live on in this place, but you will return to the earth just like those who came before you.
The people there hold on to their accents, a brogue as knobby as the live oak trees that shade the graves of their forefathers. Everything that has withstood is weathered. The beauty is is not bright. It is the hidden sort, found on lichen covered fences. Discovered on deeply lined faces not so quick to smile.
As a child, we would visit. Take the ferry for a day. My mom would drag us down small streets to peer at the headstones and build stories around skeletal facts. A name. A birth date. The year of death. Mothers who lost child after child. Families gone the span of twelve months.
We were children. We did not want to think of death. The roads were hot and the mosquitos plentiful. We wanted to walk on to the lone toy shop. We wanted someone to buy us an ice cream. When the chorus of complaining children reached its crescendo, my mom would finally walk on, but she always looked back. She knew things I did not yet know. She felt things I wouldn't feel for years.