Tuesday, January 1, 2013


It's Christmas vacation. Everyone has been off for a week and we are out of our normal routine. Only two kids have thrown up so far, so I guess that's pretty good odds for us; only 25% of our population has succumbed.

We've gotten a couple of nice snowfalls and it is beautiful out. I feel awful, though. I, too, am out of my routine. Most winters I run. Not a lot, just 10-15 miles a week: enough to make me feel alive. In winters past, I would go out in the mornings when it is still dark. I love the solitude and the silence. This winter I haven't been able to pull myself out of my warm bed and I am feeling the effects, physically and emotionally.

Today I popped into a clothing store and tried on a few tops. Oh my. Damn those 3 way mirrors!

When I got home I put on my winter running gear and headed out. Thirty seconds into the run I felt that familiar "what the hell is wrong with you?" Feeling. I felt fantastic. Alive. Joyous. Why would I avoid this? I went on my favorite daytime run, though it was well past dark. This route is in a beautiful cemetery less than a mile from my house. I love this place because it is right in town, yet quiet, with paved roads, hills, a brook and extensive wetlands throughout its 15 acres. My 16 year old thinks I'm nuts to go here, even in the light of day. He calls me Igor. He tells me it should creep me out to be with a bunch of dead people. I don't look at it that way at all. Sure, bodies have been buried here, but I don't believe for a second that their spirits are still here. I'm sure they have better things to do.

It is this belief that allows me to enter my cemetery at night. I've never gone in the dark, but it was such a lovely night and I wanted to be alone with no cars about.

It was spectacular. The full moon was giving off just enough light and the trees where covered in snow. The only sound was the brook running through the field. I ran my usual route, but stopped at the top of the hill where there is a lovely old chapel.

I closed my eyes and took some deep cleansing breaths. I decided to talk to my angels a bit.

I do this. I know it may sound a bit wack-a-doodle, but it works for me. It makes me feel connected. I guess it's my version of praying. I realized I hadn't done it in a few weeks and suddenly thought that maybe that was one of the reasons why I was feeling a little bit off.

I asked them to help me get my butt outside more-get me out of bed in the mornings so I can experience this exquisite alone time. I finished, opened my eyes and started running again. In the distance, I saw a small glow of light. I was still deep in the cemetery. I felt a flicker of fear rise up. Here I was, all alone in the dark where no one could hear me yell. What if it was some psycho smoking his cigarette? What if it was a gang of thugs smoking some drug waiting for a victim? Before I let the crazy thoughts settle, I reasoned my angels wouldn't let that happen. Shit, I just talked to them! I was not going to let fear drive me out of this lovely place. I pushed on.

As I got closer, I realized it was indeed a flame. A single, white candle sat atop an old gravestone, buried deep in snow on all sides. There it was, flickering silently in the night, so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.

I looked all around me and tilted my head to hear if anyone was about. No one.


I realized I had my cell phone in my pocket and took a few poor photos. I just wanted to document (to myself) that this angelic thing was indeed here, shimmering alone on this winter night.

The next morning, I woke just as the sun was coming up. I left the warmth of my bed, eager to visit the site of the candle. Was it still there?

I walked outside and was greeted with a blast of cold air. I inhaled deep and filled my lungs. Glorious.

The silent cemetery greeted me, her beauty different from the night before, but no less dramatic.

I ran my route and eventually came to the site of the candle. I was curious to see if it was a recent grave and someone placed the candle there last night, paying their respects.

The candle was still there, but the gravestone itself was completely blank. I had never seen one like it before in the cemetery (and Igor does, in fact, like to read the stones). The large marker behind it was inscribed for a soldier that died in 1881.


Had someone walked into the dark, cold, snowy cemetery and randomly placed a candle on an unmarked grave just for the beauty of it, or was it another angelic message for me?

I dunno.

But I do know the experience of it filled me with light.

I jogged away and thanked my angels, whether they were guilty or not.


  1. Looks like an angel floating above the candle in the second photo. Hmmmm. Or maybe it was just your breath. I guess we'll never know. Another lovely piece of writing.

  2. Holy smokes!! I didn't notice that, but it really does!