Epitaphs: Part V–A Desert Grave

As a rule, this post is about unusual and interesting words, the last words, the final words that are carved onto a headstone.  In this case, there are no words.  Perhaps there is a name and a date, but the face of the stone was difficult to see.  I was held back by a fence.  The sun was bright and glaring.  I could not find a name.

So, one is left to be curious about who this person is.

The location itself may be helpful.  I spotted a cluster of about five graves about a hundred yards off the road leading into Death Valley.  In the distance, dug into the yellow-brown hillside, was the scar of an old mine.  There was no other signs of human presence as you turned a 360 to survey the landscape.  Here, most likely, was a miner and his family.  Resting forever in the absolute silence of the desert.  Absolute?  Maybe not.  The wind blew through the scrubs.  The wind moved the sand against the headstone.  A small rodent may scurry past.  The old sun-bleached boards that were scattered about may shift with a breeze.  And, perhaps the silence was so absolute that the moon and stars made the only sound.  Could it be that only dead, deaf ears can hear clouds pass overhead?

The funeral must have been something to witness.  A few wagons…a small cluster of people standing around the hole and watching as the coffin went slowly into the dry earth.

Then they left.  Then it was silent once again.


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