Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Radiant Mojo


Cemeteries, especially those that have been around a good long time and left in a state of perpetual disrepair, call out to me, sometimes from great distances.  They seem to pop up out of nowhere, alongside the road, quietly nestled in the woods, almost indiscernible to the passer-by. I've found a single gravestone in the woods next to an old abandoned homestead. A friend and I once rode in the bucket of a backhoe, at the operator's invitation, to get to one when the bridge leading to it had been washed out by spring rain. I think of Edward Abbey, who, at his request, was buried in the desert wilderness by a few close friends. Those who know where aren't talkin'. I could go on and on about these little oases of our shared history, the emotions they call forth, the stories they tell.

Cemeteries usually have the same old epitaphs, although occasionally you will find a bit of backstory shared on the gravestone, some laced with humor. From time to time, there's a photograph under oval glass, or inside a small ornate metal door. Or, a few short sentences gets to the heart of the person's life. When an epitaph really stands out, I write it down. I like carrying the thought with me after I've moved on.

A friend and I were on our way to Chaco Canyon when we got sidetracked on the backroads that meander around the hills along the Colorado/New Mexico border. A small cemetery sat under a lone tree just back from the road. It appeared forgotten, but I doubt that was the case. Someone had once been golden to those who knew them.



Just inside the cemetery was a gravestone with this epitaph:

The Radiant Mojo: a mystical experience,
the thing that makes life bearable because 
it shows us the light and depth and infinity
beyond our ordinary existence; the thing 
that tortures us mightily by its absence,
because when it leaves us, there's nothing
but ordinary life again. 







 

18 comments:

  1. It's mystical experiences that some people wait for. They may have caught a glimpse of it as a child and yearn for it again. A wise epitaph and a wiser person who listens. That was great, Teresa. I seek out old cemetaries too, but riding across a river in a bucket to get to one. WOW that's more than completing your "bucket list." !!!!!!

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  2. Wow Teresa,
    That is pretty profound for someone who lived so long ago...that is really neat! You wouldn't ordinarily see that type of depth when reflecting upon someone.
    That's really neat; thanks for sharing that piece of info.

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  3. I love that quote. I Googled it and could only find one reference, in a computer adventure game. It makes a great real-life quest: seek the Radiant Mojo.

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  4. Posted a comment, got "service error". I'll wait a bit to see if it appears:) Love the title, love when the past reaches out to touch us in some profound way.

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  5. The Radiant Mojo. A lost mojo. I never quite comprehended what the mojo thing was , but suddenly I do.

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  6. Thank You, All, for reading and commenting. It's the mystical mixed with the beauty of this world, which is often pretty mystical itself, that makes my world go round. Yes, Nancy (BOG), The Radiant Mojo does make a great real-life quest.

    Again, Thank you all.

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  7. I love old cemeteries. We wander in them, reading the epitaphs aloud to each other. In May we'll wander in one in Gordon, Nebraska, as we find the graves of my great grandparents.

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  8. I like the thought of Radiant Mojo. When I read stuff like this at the cemeteries, it just makes me wonder about the lives... Cemeteries tell a tad bit more than old deserted homes... I love both!

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  9. Thanks to Each of You. I appreciate the comments.

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  10. I think that is a wonderful phrase, the "radiant Mojo." I am grateful for your posts, and this one especially hit me, since my heart is full right now and I'm getting ready to travel back home tomorrow... I'll remember to keep my radiant mojo going.

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  11. DJan, You definitely have some radiant mojo going, and it's inspiring to others. Have a good trip home, surrounded by love.

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  12. I met a fellow who as a hobby maintains all the tiny cemeteries in his county.I enjoy looking them over, we have 2 family cemeteries.I grew up across the street from one and in the new burbs it was one of the few places with trees to climb so we spent a lot of time in it, much to the disdain of the owner.We also tried a few seances of course. Very quiet neighbors my dad always said.

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  13. What a fine thing to do as a hobby, to honor those who have passed and the people who love them. I once lived across from a cemetery. They're interesting places. I've sometimes had lunch in them. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  14. I happened upon this same gravestone in the old Juanita, Colorado cemetary. It struck me as very profound, and I posted a photo and the quote on my facebook page. I decided to google it, and that led me here, nice to know that others have seen it and have also found significance in this quote!

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    1. What a wonderful surprise this is! I, too, love knowing others found it beautiful and significant. Thank you so much for commenting. I hope you'll return to visit my blog again

      I would imagine you know all about the hoodoos on the road to Hanksville, Utah.

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  15. I am not familiar with those particular hoodoos, I live in the Farmington area, and we have many fabulous hoodoos in the canyons surrounding the city, but I will have to keep my eyes open if I happen that way. I wonder though, how your trip to Chaco turned out? I will definitely put your blog in my favs, and explore it!

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    1. I never explored the hoodoos there, had no idea of their existence. perhaps one day I will rectify that. I lived in Santa Fe for eight years, only returning to MN. in 2010. I've been to Chaco a few times now and always find it intriguing. I will have to blog on it someday. Some great experiences there.... So glad you'll be back....

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