when there are no words

The morning was hot and humid, nearly 90 degrees already. During my daily walk, I sought shade in the Shiloh Baptist Cemetery.

Wandering among the graves, memorials and monuments, I fell into that deep place where taking pictures becomes worship.

This was a quintessential summer morning. I was vaguely aware of the rhythmic pop of a racquet hitting a ball coming from nearby Kenmore Park. In the distance, I could hear the steady hum of a lawn mower. In the trees above, the snapping of cicada wings became a hymn.

The grave sites were well-tended, graced with flowers and small mementos and treasures. There was something timeless about his place, a kind of hallowed reverence for loved ones and for love itself. Not sad exactly, but surely bittersweet. As I lay on the dewy grass, taking pictures, I kept hearing my mother’s warning, “Don’t step on the graves. It’s disrespectful.” I’m not sure if this makes sense, but still, I walked the boundaries.

I didn’t set out with any specific notion of how a picture of a cemetery might look. Instead, I immersed myself in the celebration of this life – that we might savor our days and be remembered by those we loved – and loved in memory simply because we are children of God.

And the gentle reminder that we might live this life “ever ready.”