Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thoughts in quest of a light bulb

Spiritual Cinema Circle


It started with the hanging light in the back hallway going poof!

I've never been out of spare light bulbs, or any other staple for that matter. Ditto paper products, bread, or basic foods. Lately, however, it seems I've been running madly, if only to keep slightly behind where I should be.

Sighing in exasperation, I hopped into my car, thinking that the run to the store and back would be quick--and in my usual autopilot mode. Alas, the car battery was not responsive, for the second time in two days. The AAA rep came out, jumped the battery, and pointed out to me that the dashboard dial was on a position that was draining the juice. Oookay, after having this vehicle for almost five months, now I know...*wake up, Valarie, huh?*

The rep did advise that I "drive it around for awhile, maybe 20 or 30 minutes" to recharge the battery before turning it off. Because my planned trip to the store was only about 5 minutes tops, where to go in this impromptu day trip?

I drove down Olive, and turned left on San Fernando, going deep into Glendale's industrial zone, and past Los Feliz. I used to work in this area, and was struck by the changes to the business landscape that had happened in a relatively short span of time. Gee, the world has a way of moving forward, whether or not I'm paying attention...

On purely a whim, I turned left, and then right into Forest Lawn. Perhaps this post will creep some people out, and for that, I apologize. That's certainly not my intention. It's just that this trip of recharging my car battery had now turned into a journey of unexpected reflection.

"Resting places," a pleasant euphemism for cemeteries or burial plots, have always held a fascination for me. The older the plot, the longer I may stand and ponder about this person under the headstone, and those touched by this departed soul. Visiting a grave is a very intimate way to touch a microcosm of history.

I feel even more strongly since being personally affected by the Grandview Cemetery debacle (see my previous post of July 12, 2012).

So, back to my field trip. I slowed my cruising speed to a crawl, and shut off my car stereo as a gesture of sensitivity. I got it; being drawn here (yes, I believe I may have been) was about recharging a piece of my soul, even more than recharging my car battery.

At one of the first turns, I saw a sign, "Flower theft is punishable by law." Flower theft? Really? Is nothing safe? Who does that kind of thing, anyway?

I found myself looking for some hearses, or funeral coaches as they are known in the industry. When I was able to go to Grandview, and sit by the crypts where my relatives are interred, there was a particular hearse that seemed to be always parked nearby. As I would look up and address my late husband's crypt, I would joke to him that someday I would be rich enough to buy one like it, just to raise the eyebrows of my neighbors. Since we shared a nonconformist, slightly dark humor, I liked to think he was laughing with me...


What stuck me on my drive through Forest Lawn this day was that I saw people who were celebrating the life of a loved one, not just mourning their passing. And I thought, That's how I want my loved ones to remember me--happily. There was a large gathering at a picnic table here, someone seated in a lawn chair by a grave there, all to stop and reflect.

Somehow, the issues of a car battery and a light bulb were put in another perspective. Both were irritating in their moments, but were parts of a larger mosaic.

Breathing more calmly after this tour, I exited onto Glendale Avenue, and headed to the store. I'm glad I took this detour in the meantime.
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