Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Republic Hill

Gardeners snipped hedges, sprinklers whirred, flags snapped in the breeze, the traffic on 7th Street moved briskly. I could hear a train and several times church bells. But all the sounds were swallowed up by quiet.

I spent some time this afternoon on Republic Hill in the Texas State Cemetery. Nobody I know was being buried, I just had to be in East Austin for a couple of hours and my favorite coffee shop was packed. So much for a working afternoon. There's no Internet on the hill, it was a beautiful day. 

The breeze was blowing hard enough to stir the many Texas flags up and down the lanes. There's a little flowing brook and lots of birds. The trees are amazing. There was thunder rumbling in the distance - and just enough ambiance for cemetery walking.

So I walked and prayed and read stones. 

I visited one of my favorite Elizabet Ney sculptures - Albert Sydney Johnson's reclining form. Such delicate beauty in such a place.

I felt braver about the upcoming elections, like maybe every elected official might not be a nut when I sat at Barbara Jordan's feet and read the words there - "Patriot" and "Eloquent Champion of Ethics and Justice."

I wandered by James Michener's memorial and was thankful to my bones for all the history I've enjoyed in his books. I got teary-eyed when I came upon Fred Gipson's stone unexpectedly.

A bigger than life statue of Stephen F. Austin stands high atop granite squares and points off into the east. There are the stones of governors and lawyers, judges, railroad officials, masons, football coaches, poets, artists and authors. Speakers and Signers and First Ladies. Medal of Honor recipients and senators. Susanna Dickinson and Ann Richards - oh, my. You have to be somebody special to be buried there.

There are angels and sheep and obelisks, fountains and sculptures, pink granite, gray and black. Old, undecipherable carvings and proud new ones made for the generations. 

There was one double husband-wife stone with a very long braggadocios list of the husband's accomplishments in education, government, lodge and church and the actual dates he did whatever wonderful thing he did. On the wife's side were the simple and almost apologetic words, "She was ever faithful." Good thing she died first. 

Alfred Lord Tennyson's lines, "Such a one do I remember whom to look on was to love" were present on several stones as were other sentiments both sincere and beautiful. There were scriptures and things that were sort of like scripture, poems and ridiculous sayings..."It was a great ride."

And there were rows and rows and rows and rows of dead soldiers. Two Revolutionary War veterans...although I can't figure how they got to Texas. Confederate generals and privates. Men with names like Claude and Martin and Sylvester from World Wars and 'conflicts.' New graves without grass to cover just yet.

It was a lovely afternoon place to pray, not sad or morbid, just beautiful. I prayed for our government, for my family far and wide, for dear friends, for creativity to abound in our lives, for the many children I love who started school this week, for troubles and grief, for soldiers everywhere. And the parents and spouses who send them off to war.

And I was mindful and thankful.

Terry had a good day off today. He mostly waited for repairmen to come and fix things that were broken last week. He puttered and napped. And drank so much tomato soup that he broke out in a rash.
: ) Thank you for your continued prayers. 

God is good and faithful. 

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