Bingo Cemetery, Green Mountains, Vermont

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There is a graveyard that for us marks a trailhead we take almost daily in all weather. More often than not there are fresh flowers on one of the graves, chrysanthemums I think, each morning, a stranger’s prayers made manifest. Some of these carved stones, large like granite ships, are over a hundred years old. We move on up the trail as easy as rain. Once I fell in love with the hills and crests of another range of mountains. In those peaks I lost my late husband’s mind, soon to follow was his body by his own hand. But this range can hold buckets and buckets of snow, enough to freeze the pain or at least keep it from thawing without warning. Though on this day it is newly summer and I stop to collect several recently dead butterflies of the dozens that fill the air like tickertape. The wings of the living opening and collapsing like tiny breaths. And who can’t breathe in all this green? I take the dead home, position them in a natural way, then pin their bodies in a shadowbox, admire them even more if missing a hind wing, a tattered or chipped forewing, some sufferings before the inevitable. I only collect those already dead which means those that are imperfect. Each evening concludes with the stained-glass sky. Maybe this place is church, the forgiveness of sins, crucified relics of beauty, a path that leads past and then towards the dead.