In one direction or another mankind strives to live a supernatural life…Henry David Thoreau
It struck Sasha Obreht that the hillside had the incline of a beginner’s ski slope. It’d been a long time since she’d thought of skiing. As a bean counter who worked in a cubicle, she'd come to live her life in an orderly way. No chaos. No dust. Everything in its place.
Her pony-tailed son, Louis, walked around her SUV, carrying a drawing pad. “You’re going to love this,” he said. She wasn’t so sure. “A cemetery?”
They were so different. He, the believer-in-the-otherworld. She, the what-you-see-is-what-you-get-parent.
Today, she humored him. Spending time together was important. He’d be off to college soon. But visiting an isolated graveyard on a biting October day wasn’t her idea of fun. Shopping. Playing tennis or bridge. Now, that was more like it.
Sasha took Louis’s arm and they started up the hillside flanked by woods she had once played in as a child. That there was a cemetery nearby was news to her.
When they reached the top, Louis released her arm and pointed. “It’s over there, at the end of the path.”
Sasha reminded herself not to appear too bored. She stepped forward and was met by a surprise. “Why, it’s surrounded by a wrought iron fence.”
“Cool, huh?” Louis opened the gate and stood back to allow her entrance.
She glanced at his sketchbook. “A rubbing?”
“Yeah, but come over here.” He walked away. “Look at that,” he said, swinging his arm wide.
Sasha weaved around several gravestones until she came to his side. She put her gloved hand on his arm. “Why, it’s stunning.”
Crystallized mist blanketed treetops, green fields and rooftops. Louis gave her arm a squeeze, then hunkered down and went to work.
Sasha placed her hands on the fence railing and let the cool breeze sweep her face. It had been too long since she’d been away from the city. She frowned. “Is that a train?” She knew it wasn’t. She’d been raised on this farm. But still…iron wheels against iron tracks. So loud. She turned. Her grip on the railing tightened.
Louis’s eyes furrowed. He dropped his pad and hurried to her side.
In that instant, snow eddied around the gravestone Louis had been rubbing. It swirled and whirled, flipping pages, mixing earth, fallen leaves and bits of twigs. In the nearby woods, no trees swayed. No half-leaved branches rustled.
Wide-eyed, Sasha looked at Louis. Louis looked at Sasha. They smiled.