I bury things.
When I was little, I was obsessed with finding buried treasure. Even though I live in a landlocked state and grew up a good forty minutes by car from the nearest large river, I was certain that a trove of pirate treasure lay buried beneath the sidewalk mere blocks from home. After all, there were bootprints in the concrete. What better way to mark the spot than with bootprints that ordinary passersby would take for some construction worker’s careless mistake?
I loved time capsules back then, too. They were my own variation of buried pirate’s treasure. I’m fairly certain that, somewhere in my old backyard, maybe a foot or so down (because I’d have been too tired to dig any further), there lies a tin or ten of memories. And if my dad still lived in the house I grew up in, it would be a lot of fun to go digging things up back there, just to see what I could find. To see what I’ve forgotten.
But he doesn’t.
I buried him, too. Because along with things, I bury people.
I remember when I was five and my grandfather died. My parents drove the two hours (give or take) to my dad’s hometown to attend the funeral, but left my sister and me at home because we were so little. I was furious. We hadn’t known the man – he and my dad were not close – but in my five-year-old mind, that didn’t matter. I should have been there.
There once existed a picture of my grandfather pushing me in a stroller, though. Or maybe that was my uncle, and the picture exists only in my mind because I loved it when my dad would tell me the story about my uncle pushing me in the stroller.
I buried a niece, too. I was seven then. I cried and cried and cried when she slipped softly into a better realm. I buried a schoolmate, a great-grandmother, a friend’s little brother. I buried friendships and relationships and my mother.
I buried them with resignation and heartache and immense, unfathomable grief. I buried them with soil and flowers and kind words, the sort that reassure those who hear them. Because I bury words and feelings, too.
I bury words, way down deep, till they come surging forth, angry waves upon the shore. I shove them down, bottle them up, try to keep them contained. I bury feelings deeper still, till they come seeping out, magma leaking through my cracks. I bury words unsaid next to the words I’ve said, but they tend to bubble up within me. Their memory burns me, so I bury them deeper, so far down that I forget their existence.
That is, until I can’t. Because eventually, those words and those feelings that I thought were buried come shooting back to the surface, fireworks in a dark sky, lighting the way to a different place. A better place. A place of new beginnings.
You see, I also bury seeds. I bury them without looking, sometimes without knowing. The things I bury in pain or in anger sometimes become seeds of hope with a little time and patience. Hope is a powerful thing; it cannot be contained. No matter how dark the night, the sun always rises, and hope with it.
What things do you bury?
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