What I See: Sage Smudge at the Cemetery
Today I needed to send some sorrowful feelings up to the sky in the form of smoke. I brought back a sage and lavender smudge from the Taos Pueblo in January and today was the day. One year plus one day after my sister died. So I took it to the niche garden where Mom, Dad and Debbie’s urns are housed and lit that sucker.
I wasn’t fully prepared at how robustly it began to smoke and so I propped it into the center of some evergreen branches I had placed above their niches. The milky white billows were significant and satisfying. The entire hand wrapped smudge stick took about one hour to be consumed, and I was glad for the necessary pause demanded from my day to see the process through to completion. Soft delicate ash like phantom sprays of the sage fell to rest upon the stones I had placed beneath the vase.
Several times, just as the smoke seemed to quiet, the embers within the stick would glow red hot, emitting flickers of flame for brief moments. Yes, I thought, that is how grief is – you think it’s died down, that you are done, but suddenly the emotions return with a violence that stuns. Maybe I discovered some smudge medicine today, because it definitely spoke to me. The ins and outs of the embers, flames and smoke seemed to dance with me for that hour in the chilly, clear air of the afternoon. It felt good.