Almost Dusk on the Day of the Dead
Tomorrow, when sunlight lingers only on the tips of the Yolla Bollie mountains, my small son and I will gather the jack-o-lantern, a crimson candle with a spill of wax around its base, and a candy skull painted red and blue with powder sugar paint. Together, we will scatter the zombie remains of this summer’s leaves as we walk into the woods behind our house. The dead foliage will rise and shake their drying bones at us as our shoes jostle them from their graves.
Reverently, we will kneel beside a flat broken stone set carefully in the earth. Painstakingly scraping away the jettison of oak and maple, my son and I will bump elbows with each other and with twisted moss covered trees. The great carved pumpkin will be meticulously positioned by small hands while I light the candle and lower it into it’s vegetable cage. The skull will be examined again before being settled beside the glowing globe.
By the light of the candle, we will read the word lovingly hewn in rock last year by one of my older sons. “Stormy” it says. We miss our bounding sweet tempered border collie and, even the fact that a whole year later we are accompanied by another sweet tempered border collie who touches her cold nose to ours in pleasure that we have come romping with her, does not completely fill the corner of our heart where Stormy will always have a place.
In Mexico the day of the dead hasn’t yet come but here in the moist shadows of Northern California our dog was buried a year ago and so tomorrow is our Day of the Dead.
picture by Quinn Church