I entered Sleepy Hollow Cemetery alone in the gray dawn.
It was eerie and yet beautiful.
Late winter brings a stringent kind of cold
to New England mornings.
The trees were bare, the snow was hard.
The meandering path led me up a hill.
Other than one or two people walking their dogs in the February chill,
I was unaccompanied.
As I approached Author’s Ridge
I’d already decided that this place was the most peaceful
resting place for any soul.
The closer I ambled toward the gravestone
the more drenched I felt with insight.
Then I saw it.
The boulder of granite that marked his grave.
The mind on fire.
I looked closer at the engraving on the plaque.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
BORN IN BOSTON MAY 25 1803
DIED IN CONCORD APRIL 27 1882
THE PASSIVE MASTER LENT HIS HAND
TO THE VAST SOUL THAT OER HIM PLANNED
I sat there in the frigid air resting my back on his stone.
Silence and radiance filled the gloom of the wintry morning.
There was a surreal feeling that shrouded over me
just knowing that below this very spot lies
the man who wrote so many extraordinary essays;
a man who mentored Henry David Thoreau and taught the world
how to live poetically with nature
and to trust thyself over everything else.
“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind”
I could hear him say deep from within the world.
I hugged my coat and flipped my collar up
and walked back down the ridge refreshed
and ready to throw my whole soul at the rest of life.