I had passed it every day on my way home, at the entrance ramp at the beginning of Ellington Parkway just North of downtown Nashville, a simple cross made of a perforated steel channel, ubiquitous in construction, known as unistrut. It is on the public right of way adjacent to one of Nashville low cost housing projects and conjures many images juxtaposed as it is against the poorly maintained apartment buildings that have sheltered people suffering from despair and sickness for decades. This is just one of hundreds of such monuments to highway deaths I have seen on roads here in the South. I try to take a moment to realize the meaning of loss these crosses represent and honor the public, if anonymous, display of grief.
I nearly sideswiped the car beside me. As tried to merge onto Ellington I found the gray cross now completely covered in purple, red, and pink silk flowers. For years I had no evidence that it had ever been touched by human hands. The dour specter now seemed to be singing, brought to life by this human kindness. But the song faded. As the weeks went by the flowers tuned to white from the Sun. As the Months passed they turned as gray as the steel. And as Winter came and went the flowers fell away. Last year's flood washed away the cross bar where once hung memory and solace. I wonder, were the flowers a commemoration of the passing of the soul this cross represented. Where they in honor of the person who had left it there years before, now gone to be with the one they so loved. Did the memories of the one they lost fade away, or did they become to painful to bare any longer. I will never know. The Cross is silent.
It is a blessing, that the dead are always faithful. Their deeds now recounted and numbered and relived by those that still have dreams and needs of their own. The living search that past for the kindness they need today and with what they find they embody the souls of the absent and form a cradle for their remembrance. It is a blessing for the dead that their lives now flow not with the revolutions of our Earth but the revelations of our hearts.
It is a blessing for the living to always be faithful. To guard your thoughts and words and deeds as you would eternity. To always act in the best interest of those that love you. My Father told me, when I was a child, that if something is so important to you that so foremost in your mind that you can say it when you see a falling star that that wish will come true. I will try to say “ I will earn my daughters faith in me.” before the light can die.