When people die, I am a big fan of tributes to their lives, which have hopefully been lived well. My favorite memorials involve lots of tears and lots of laughter. . .and lots of beers, but I digress. I am not such a big fan of focusing on the death itself, because mostly, there is no good to come of it. Roadside memorials, in particular, creep me out. They are a perpetual reminder of a horrible end, rather than a celebration of the good things that the person in question brought to this earth. In my opinion, they are just about the bad. I can see the argument that they bring attention to dangerous stretches of roadway, etc., but I would like to hope that most people understand by now that car travel, particular at high speeds, can be dangerous.
There is a road that I generally travel at least twice a day. The speed limit is rather low (35mph), and the road is very straight, and heavily wooded, although the trees are trimmed back quite far from the road. It was with great curiousity, then, that I began to notice something odd popping up at an intersection in the middle of the wooded straightaway. First it was a flowering plant, nestled into the earth just west of the intersection. Then, the next day, another. And another the day after that.
Each day, morning and night, I would eagerly check out the site on my way by, curious to see what was new and different this time. The plants actually changed at one point, to a taller variety. Each day, there seemed to be one or two more plants than the day before. Yet, it did not appear to be a garden planned by anyone who had a right to be gardening there amidst the trees. The efforts seemed to happen slowly, in stages. There was something very furtive about the way the little garden appeared, changed, and grew. It was very strange.
Then one morning, I caught site of one of those mirrored garden balls. It wasn't in amongst the plants, but rather out near the street. It changed position a few times over the next few days. Then, a few days later, a small cross of rocks was built upon it. It was then that I realized it must be a roadside memorial of some sort, which I also thought was very odd, since I haven't seen or heard of any accidents at that location.
I have been wondering for weeks about the story behind this little garden, about what motivated the furtive gardener who put all of this there. Somebody spent a lot of time and money building this green memorial, with its blue garden ball cross. It meant quite a lot to someone, to build it so slowly, to tear things out and put new things in, to make it just so.
Then yesterday, as I came by, I saw a white pickup truck with a trailer backed up next to the little garden. A man, clearly the "hired help," most likely for the adjoining estate that owns the property, was tearing the plants out by the roots. When I came by a while later, every last plant, the garden ball, the cross--everything--had been removed, and the area raked over, forestland once more.