I went to the funeral of a neighbor yesterday. Someone I've known since childhood. After the church service the line of cars wound through the countryside, back past the house where she lived, the house where I live, past a road named for a family well-represented among the mourners, up a steep hill just a bit past my house to the cemetery. There must have been 40 or 50 cars. And, at the top of the hill, on the flat field across the road from the cemetery, the snow had been plowed and in the expanse the brown shots of last year's flattened hay remains speckled the white and the sun lit up the snow with diamonds.
We stood on the hilltop near the grave, 10 degrees F, where I've taken innumerable photographs and I found myself next to one of the members of the other "old" families. Of course we talked.
"Not bad for January."
"Could've been worse."
"Not much wind."
"Probably the most beautiful cemetery in Vermont."
"Mostly they're on hilltops."
"Going to end up here myself."
This was a Vermont occasion and a Vermont conversation. Short sentences. Clear statements of the obvious. Acceptance of winter, nod to the past, knowledge of the future. One adjective. No frills.
We all then drove back to the church and ate. Among all the dishes of chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese, goulash, scalloped potatoes, bread, butter, rolls, cole slaw, ham, tuna noodle, there was a salad with Romaine, cheese, croutons, cherry tomatoes, and chick peas. An ever-so-minute note of change.