The moon, looking as ageless as ever, peered through the wisps of clouds and graced the graveyard with it's graceful splendor The time of the night when the churchyards yawn and profound silence reigns supreme. When the owl hoots it's mournful song, careful not to disturb the dead, when the hum and murmur of the crickets and grasshoppers blend into a chorus which gradually ascends with the passage of night. This is the time of the night when softly and deftly, the music of the night caresses you and then secretly possess you.
The wind fell; it's distant moaning were more low and mournful, carrying with it the hum and hiss and clatter of the train passing by. By degrees, it lulled and died away; and then it came onto snow. The flakes fell fast and thick, soon covering the ground some inches deep and spreading abroad a solemn stillness. Rows and rows of venerable gravestones dotted the churchyard, and were slowly being enveloped by the falling snow. The Church, with it's low, cracked arches, fragments of blackened walls and foliage and overgrown grass crowding the porch indicated that it was built many hundred years ago. Besides the Church was a small house with a quaint, thatched roof with walls that were blackened by time. This is where the old Sexton lived. The door led to a small room, with two old windows on either side of the door and a large hearth. It was not quite destitute of furniture. A few strange chairs whose arms and legs looked as though they had dwindled away with age, a table which had a pile of papers and the Bible upon it and a bed. On one of these chairs sat the Sexton, wearing a black wool jacket. His eyes were deep and sharp, but they had a peculiar shade under them. There were deep creases on his forehead which showed that he mused a lot, he had grey, unkempt hair and his emaciated hands, like his body, were worn rough by the constant digging and repairing of graves.
He sat hunched on the chair with his chin on his chest, eyes inward. One would have thought that he was asleep, but in truth, he was thinking. Thinking about the grave he had recently dug and the person he had laid to rest in. A few tear drops still remained on his cheeks, and wiping them with the back of his hands, stood up and leaning on his cane, approached the table. Holding the jug of water with both hands, he poured it in the glass, but halfway through, it slipped from his hands and fell on the floor.
Frowning in vexation, he turned towards the hearth and shouted, "Marge...Margret! Where is my darned juice? I've told you to keep it with in my reach! Old hag, never learns."
Muttering the latter part under his breath, he returned to his chair and sitting down, sighed explosively.
"You look adorable with those wrinkles, David, try smiling sometimes. Lights up the face", returned a woman's voice, chuckling.
"Yeah, yeah. Butter me up. Keep sewing your whole life, and clean the hearth! The ash is piling up", bellowed the old man, scratching his head in anger.
" Yes sir. What would you do without me, i wonder?"
A chair was pushed back, there was some shifting of feet and the sound of the poker being used to shift the coals in the hearth was heard. The old man shook his head in dismay and resting his head in his hands, cried uncontrollably. Hysterical sobs bubbled out, tears ran down in rivulets, blurring his vision. All this time, an almost deafening, painful and stressful silence filled the room.
At last, he wiped the tears from his face with his jacket sleeve, and holding the sewing cloth tightly in his hands, spoke softly, "Mar..Marge? Margret It's me, David. Would you like some juice? An om..omelette, perhaps? Oh, you do? Ha ha! You naughty girl, i can't cook. Its c..c..cold outside, Marge. Oh how my bones creak! You want some flowers? I'm going outside. You look pretty, Margret. K..keep sewing, i'll be back." Smiling and chuckling as he talked with gestures of hands, he stood up and leaning on his cane, approached the door. A gust of cold wind rushed inside the room as he opened it, and smiled, " Yes, Marge, i heard you, some sunflowers too." Chuckling and talking as before, he trudged forward, closing the door behind him.
The constant fidgeting of birds in their dark recesses pointed towards the approach ofdawn. With the passage of time, the stars grew dim and a tinge of blue appeared in the sky, the snow fall also gradually lessened in it's intensity.
The old church bell rang out the hour with a mournful sound, as if it had grown sad from so much communing with the dead and unheeded warning to living; the fallen leaves rustled; the grass stirred upon the graves; all else was still and sleeping.
Let sleep be the death of each day's life.
And let the dreams be the canvas on which the dead paint their sorrows.