On Sundays, I sometimes wander in the cemetery. Lately, I veer off the paths and across the grass. In Ireland, the graves are clearly demarcated, with curbs or rails framing each plot. Oh, how we Irish love building walls around our little patch of dirt. You're not to walk across the graves, but between them. And as children we would balance on those curbs, making a game of being so good.
But Mount Pleasant's patchwork is indecipherable to even the most attentive walker and although I don't forget what's below me, there's a certain Canadian sensibility to this arrangement, more pragmatic than precious. A family headstone branches out to stones laid flat in the ground, like this one for Flora. And some simply say Mother or Uncle. I like to see them so much and to read their dateless names, that I take the risks and bear the guilt.
The leaves right now would make your heart soar like a person who believes in religion and could take to song. Sometimes they darken, clumped and matted in puddles and wet patches of grass, or leave outlines on pavements that salt and snow will later raze. But enough still hang, dry as a butterfly's wing, on branches, to create those golden canopies that draw you off footpaths and under trees, among headstones.
It's there that you might find some conkers too. A horse's haunch in miniature, the tawniest port, the glow of wood polished and oiled, the smell of a piano opened up; the perfect netsuke of nature. And I roll them in my hands and in my pockets and carry them home to put in bowls and hold later. So that when it's dark the candlelight will hit them just so and they will glow again.
Transitional seasons hang like travel, a brief a no-man's-land. And my mind often gets lost, forgetting which season we're coming out of and going into, and I feel my age as it melds and mires. But I live too in the swing of the door, in everything that's mutable and glows and is without demarcation.
Products: Merino snood from Toast | Sessun Long Walk Floral Dress from Steven Alan | Blackberry & Bay perfume from Jo Malone | Horse ring from Conroy & Wilcox | Conkers | Anniel ballet flat from Steven Alan | Mimi Frank bag from Mimi Berry