We continue our series, “From the Cave,” with a duende-filled vignette from Gloria Wilson. After Gloria and fellow Deep Travel writers watched a flamenco dance, they all read their work in the gitano cave, celebrating a week of following Lorca’s footsteps through Granada, Spain.
A VIGNETTE BY GLORIA WILSON
It never goes quite right. The wind shifts, the wave comes in, the ashes lie flat. The ever-present pressure of finding the perfect spot for deployment. The hill on the Serengeti or the elephant-demolished bush on the plain. High atop a cliff in Tibet or the holy hot spring. The bay that surrounds Robben Island or from Table Mountain. High or low, land or sea. Like the Buddhist air or water burials. No matter. The remains will eventually be swept away. I bring him in my pocket and release to share the wondrous sights of places he would never know.
A friend is aghast! You’ve taken him everywhere? Tibet, India, South Africa, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, France, Italy, Guatemala, Belize, Vietnam, Cambodia? Jerry will never be free if you don’t dispose of all of his remains. I don’t agree but the admonition lingers.
My daughter and I talk of perfect places for the final burial. We nod. A not-so-far-away island off the coast of Massachusetts. Not exotic but very familiar. An island getaway where the three of us often went, where we looked into the yachts at night, walked the cobblestone streets, imagined the wives waiting for the whalers coming home from sea. We will go again on Jerry’s birthday, to celebrate the lives we shared.
The high-speed ferry takes but an hour. Exhilarated from the sea air and a bit anxious, we drop our bags at the bed and breakfast and go straight to the flower cart on the main street for some wildflowers. Next stop, our favorite sandwich shop. With flowers, sandwiches and beach towels, we head to the beckoning lighthouse. The one that greats the ferries and bids them goodbye. Perfect marker for the resting place. But it never goes quite right; we should have music, we should have written something to say, once again we don’t want to say goodbye.
In knee deep water, I toss the ashes into the water, Cait tosses the flowers. The wave comes in, the wind shifts, the ashes and flowers come back to us. We smile. It never goes quite right, but then it never goes quite wrong.
ABOUT GLORIA WILSON
“You fit the profile,” says a stranger ordering a drink next to me. At first, I was taken aback. What does that mean? But it is true, who and what I am is a teacher, spending my entire adult life teaching students with special needs and now teaching others to teach students with disabilities. My writing, mostly on the evolution of loss, is short, to the point, and for me, cathartic. I live in New York City, overlooking the East River and daily sunrises, and in the middle of museums, theatres, subways and crowds. I’m a professor at Hofstra University, mother to Caitlin and of course love adventures of many kinds.