Friday, 23 August 2013

Flowers on Gravestones

Silken shapes of floral flesh released a heady perfumed aroma as layers were traced with tip of a finger, the petals ruffled like luxurious petticoats. The scent evoked immeasurable memories and the texture alone brought reminiscence of a certain feminine curves.

I held the rose within my fingertips. At least I assumed it was a rose, it’s fragrance held a familiar opulent depth. Fingering its stem and wincing for the welcome sting of ripened thorn I trod the seeping shadows of a familiar quiet graveyard, a place I liked to dwell recently since discovering the solitude beyond the weather worn gate at the corner of the street. Here I liked to keep company of the headstones, breath in the grief and ponder the shadows. Such sorrowful atmosphere allowed one to focus. At least it did me.

I mused upon the reason people left flowers upon graves. Was it to paint the drab eerie gloom with bursts of colour? An attempt to smother the lingering scent of death? Or perhaps was company for those past for soon would each bloom wither and fade as all life did, left to rot.

Arm extended before me, delicate bloom held between finger and thumb at its stem I trod onwards carefully through the dim mists that swirled having risen to escape the dregs of sodden water that flooded the ground after now simmering storm, rose held before me as if an invisible guiding light. Soft, wild and heady scent wafted alluringly carrying aroma beyond its own; the lingering scent of the one whom left it as token of respect touched and tasted upon my tongue. A female, elderly perhaps, though scent alone made it hard to tell. 

Boots took me full circle, back to where I had first plucked the rose from its resting place. Here her scent was stronger and accompanied by the heavy weight of emotion upon the air. Amidst the dirt and stone I crouched down twirling the petals slowly, eyes aching to see its fragile beauty. Arm extended, tips of fingers anticipating meeting of stone. When it came it was damp, nails grazing lightly against thin layer of mildew and gathered mush of leaves and dirt that had snuck into the crevasses of carved letters yet even trying to discern with careful tracing I could not make out the words. In Loving Memory? Here Lies Someone? A name, a date? Ode to a mother, a father, a child or friend?

Steadying myself against the headstone I discovered its shape, a rounded arch of simplicity that by its crumbling texture did it appear ancient in its own way though in reality perhaps little more than a decade or two in age. Merely a blink in time for the likes of me. 

Allowing my shoulders to slump I drew in a deep breath, inhaling a well of sorrow and grief. Such emotions were to be expected in such a place yet here specifically there was more. Anger, hints of bitterness and beneath it all, despairing bewilderment. I bowed my head deeply, bracing weight forward against my arm inhaling this lingering echo of psyche deep into craving lungs, basking in the sensation of sating an almost carnal need.

Slowly my free hand rose to the talisman lain against my chest, fingers stroking at one of five empty crystals; for all of them were empty, bar one. The arcane glass shimmered with blue iridescence, contact sounding an almost ethereal chime. The vibrating sound was one of those that could take you back, snatch one away from their moment in time and drop them back into the past where memory was first embedded in such hearing. I could feel my mind pulled almost against my will causing a near violent shake of head. I would not go there, not today.
I pulled back, rolling my shoulder as I straightened, fighting the head rush that descended from such decadent and macabre feasting. I attuned my focus to the flower still held. Not everything had to fade, not everything had to die. Even if to endure it ceased to live. That paradox was within my power to grant.

“Well now...let us see if we can freeze you in time...ever bright, ever in bloom, ever beautiful” At least maybe until a time I could see once more. Even though such time would never come. I liked to pretend otherwise sometimes.

Laying the flower within my palm I rest back upon my knees, eyes blinking painfully behind blindfold. With deep breath inhaled I lifted my head exhaling slowly. About me the shadows rolled, slipping one after the other in a mesh of opposing light. They were always there and something I was used to, often bringing a strange sense of comfort in times alone where there were no bright glowing auras to turn my gaze. Yet now my focus drew upon them more acutely, wishing to see between them and invite them closer, unlike others who needed first to somehow cross that divide. Being half way there I had but to beckon.

My fingers twitched as a cool breeze rustled all about, refreshing though full of both foreboding and promise. Unbeknown to me the tiny blood red rose petals bristled with the unfurling of careful fingers, offering my bloom to the waiting umbra. The shadows slithered and whispered causing my lips to softly smile, head angled downwards as small catch of breath sounded at back of my throat. The hinted shape of stem and petals wavered in the breeze, gradually devoid of colour save a spectrum of grey and yet was somehow all the more alluring as shadows coiled tight all about each tiny fragment, outlining their shape. 

“May I keep you always” my voice hushed into the subtle breeze and gently the bloom rose from my palm, twisting gracefully as carried within a shadowy orb that floated close, ensnaring the bloom between two worlds; never to shed petal or indeed its seed, no life to give and none to take, suspended forever in a captured moment.  With small incline of head the protective orb moved closer to the waiting crystal that now vibrated with a low hum against my throat. With the attraction similar to that of a magnet did the shadow rose absorb within, held for all fate and fortune within the power of the Void. Slightly shaking, my fingers curled over the crystal accompanied by small snuff of air and thus all was sealed. 

The bloom was forever mine..


© Rachel Ellen, 2011

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