Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California


I rolled into the graveyard shortly after dawn, the grass color just appearing through the dissolving dark grays and blacks of night and the damp chill of thick dripping air before the haze pulled out to sea. I’ve ridden through the El Carmelo Cemetery hundreds of times, but something felt vastly different. Without thinking, I quit peddling and let the bike roll to a stop in the middle of the road. Maybe it’s the multitude of bodies in the ground, I thought, spirits circling the yard, all the tears soaked into the turf, a hallowed place lending no chance of denial.

I closed my eyes and let the feeling soak into my bones. The images became scent and the foggy, wet morning merged with the muted silence and a whisper of waves breaking against the rocky shore a half mile down the hill. You can’t deny who you are in a cemetery, your true nature, the eternity you share with the ones in the ground. Play all of the notes, I thought, don’t pull back from the dissonant intervals. Its simplicity both confounds and comforts me.