We were in the middle of a rather long winter drive.
We were doing what we love to do.
Our timing, through no fault of our own, was perfect.
Tom said “look” and I looked.
Preparing to turn out of the church onto the main road was a beautiful, old-fashioned hearse. It was pulled by two perfectly-matched black horses with plumes upon their heads
It seemed to us that the horses knew that the occasion was solemn with special meaning for how very beautiful they looked. There was something self-confident in the way they held their heads and arched their necks.
Their trappings were bright silver, including their bridles and covered with small, tinkling bells. Their hooves made a characteristic clip-clop as the slowly walked along the asphalt road. The road was still wet from a recent storm and the fields beside them were clean with new snow. There was a beautiful contrast between the ground and sky and the black hearse and horses. The driver was dressed in a black coat and hat with a white carnation on his lapel.
Inside of the hearse was a light, wooden coffin. It didn’t look full size but we could only infer what that might have meant.
The distance from the church to the cemetery was only about two blocks. Behind the hearse was a long line of cars with their headlights on just like things used to be before the cities where we have lived grew too large to escort individual funerals in this way.
Two policemen with their lights flashing stopped the traffic on this country highway so that the procession could stay together. I remember when it was always like that until sometime in the 1970s.
I was relaxed by the pace. So much in our lives is fast. So often we are in a hurry. It was wonderful to have time to stare and time to think.
One of the things we have come to treasure about our frequent and spontaneous drives is how often little things like this present themselves. Away from the noise and bustle of a city, there is a different rhythm to life and some traditions have been preserved.
We didn’t know a soul but it didn’t matter.
It was the highlight of our day.