Cimetière de Montmartre

Too high to see over and too curious to not wonder what was on the other side, we walked for twenty minutes, slowly circling the perimeter, wondering what was on the other side of the wall. We finally found the gate and the mossy sepulchers inside.

There's a weight to this place. The names and dates fill your head with stories and it's a comfort to know that that is their purpose. That years from now these stories will still be there and perhaps someone will read yours.

The sisters who died one year apart in old age or the simple epigraph "mon père" in gold. 

The people who wander here tell their own wordless stories. The slight stoop in her shoulders speaks of age or long-held grief. It's impossible to tell which. She's brought her watering can with her, a spade's wooden handle clinking against the top rim. Disappearing off the boulevard, she picks her way to a stone. A daily ritual perhaps. In the middle of the maze, she is hidden and we cannot see her tend to the flowers. 

I wonder if she can still hear the birdsong. 

What a place to wander, you think. But have you ever felt this air? Life fills it up, layer on layer, as green lush grass and leaves play over moss and dirt. True, the houses of the dead surround you here, but the houses of the living blend into them at the edge of this old gypsum quarry. Birds flash back and forth between the great oak branches, flirting and fighting and calling life's bluff. Everything is bursting with life but for the dead.

It makes you want to live all the more.