Things have been hectic in my life. I have a teenage daughter...I know...enough said. School starts back next week so we are preparing for that. I am in the process of moving to a different department at work, I'm writing three books at the same time, I have responsibilities at Church, I have social engagements, and I'm training for my first 5K. Now individually, that may not seem too bad of a schedule, but when you put them all together, and you factor in the everyday chores of cleaning, laundry, and groceries, it makes your head want to explode. When I get to this point, it's best for everyone if I go off by myself somewhere for awhile. I mentioned earlier that I am training for my first 5K. Most people walk/run at a school track, a park, or around their neighborhood. Not me, I go to the cemetery. A lot of you just cringed at the thought. Admit it. The cemetery in my town is peaceful. It has paved streets. The grass is cut on a regular basis. The fire house is right in front of it. I feel safe there. Probably 85% of the people buried there are family members or family friends. The firemen are within yelling distance if an emergency arises. I enjoy having the time to myself. I have my IPod with me and just relax to some of my favorite songs. As I start to calm down, my mind will often drift. Sometimes, I come up with great story lines. Other times, I'll think of my dad who is buried there. There are times, though when I just end up either laughing like a lunatic or picking up the pace because there are some really strange things that happen in the cemetery and trust me, if anything weird can happen, it will happen to me.
That brings me to the list. The top ten strange, crazy, scary, weird things that have happened while training in the cemetery.
1. The Crows. There are three crows that are there most of the time when I am. I'm telling you, these little buggers are following me. As I go around the paths, they fly from tombstone to tombstone. They squawk at each other, probably plotting my demise. Sometimes they are sitting at the gates when I drive through and then the fun begins.
2. The Bird that Never Moves. On one of the paths, there was this brown bird that was perched on a shepherds hook. From the distance, it looked real. I couldn't figure out why that crazy bird never moved so I ventured off the path to investigate. It was metal and a part of the the shepherds hook. Guess that explains a few things.
3. The Voices from Beyond. There is a grave of a family friend that I pass before going down a slight hill to circle around the back part of the cemetery. The other night a storm was brewing. There was lightning in the distance and thunder. It hadn't started raining yet and I was determined to get in at least a mile. Well, every time I got close to the grave, I would hear muffled voices. I was looking around, but nobody was there. After a couple of times around, I figured out the voices were of the firemen on their patio at the firehouse. I couldn't see them, but it sits on the other side of the hill.
4. Singing. Now this isn't unusual. I sing along with my IPod all the time while there, but this was singing that wasn't me. As I got closer, there was a family in lawnchairs sitting around a tombstone. There were balloons, cake, and the singing of the Happy Birthday song. They were having a birthday party I suppose for the dearly departed.
5. The Face on the Tombstone. There is one grave, well several actually, that have faces of the deceased carved on them. This one in particular is about twenty years old. The face is fading in places and when the sun hits it just right, it becomes a little bit creepy looking. It's sad as I knew the person when they lived, but sometimes I walk a little faster past that particular tombstone.
6. My Dad and my Uncle. As I said, I am related or friends to a good portion of the people buried in the cemetery. My dad and my uncle are both there. There is nothing creepy or funny about this. Instead it's peace and comfort. When I stop to take a break, it's usually in the section where they are buried. I think back of my uncle teaching me to make a proper fist for punching. (Never tuck your thumb inside your fist or you will break it.) I also think of my dad. He was a loving, caring, cantankerous, funny, man. I think back on our life together and smile. The memories make me happy.
7. The Small Buildings. You know those small buildings? Crypts? Am I the only person who imagines somebody just opening the door and walking out? As a result, I am rarely there after the sun sets.
8. Was that a Vampire? As most of you know, I write some paranormal romance. I get some great story ideas, but let a twig snap when you're by yourself and you're immediately looking around for the cause and thinking one of your characters is coming to life.
9. The Lone Harley. One day, I came up on a Harley sitting on the path. There was nobody around, at least that I could see. I was almost upon the guy when I realized he was lying down next to a grave and talking to the tombstone.
10. Who's There? There have been a couple of times now, where I have gotten tired or discouraged while training. I start thinking why bother? You'll never do this, etc... It was bloody hot on one day in particular. Temps in the 90's that felt like the 100's. I was ready to quit before I had even started. It was a weekend and one of my long days where I try for distance, not time. As I'm going down the path with the sun in my eyes and baking me to a crisp, I suddenly got goose flesh, my hair stood up on my neck, and I was freezing from a blast of wind. I know that sounds like a cliche', but Dude, I assure you it happened. Talk about freaking out completely. It's the middle of a sunny afternoon! That particular day was my friends birthday. He died two years ago and had encouraged me to try for the 5K. I had been thinking of him all day. I don't know what that blast of cold was, but it encouraged me to go on. I ended up with the best distance and time for that week as a result.
Until the next time, have a great week!