Driving back from Bozeman with the passenger seat empty, I watched the clouds. It will be eleven days before I retrace this road to pick up John on his return from Seattle. Alone, I pulled off the road at the entrance to the Lennep Memorial Cemetery where the stratocumulus clouds rolled away from my camera and over the hills. They were dark at the bottom with white swells at the top, laid out in a pattern. I’d been listening to Jason Isbell’s “Something more than free” in the car and the clouds matched the melancholy-yet-hopeful mood of the album. His ballads don’t shy away from difficulties, but they are equally not afraid to hint at promise.
With the camera put away, I turned toward the cemetery, unlocking the gate and letting myself in without thinking. It was neatly mowed, had tall trees. and graves dating from the 1800’s to now. There are many Volseths and Bergs on the headstones, names that I know well. Norman Volseth was buried here just a few years ago. I have listened to Norman tell stories of the area. Now it will be up to the next generation to carry those stories forward. Past and present, lost but not forgotten, melancholy and promise.