Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Tale of Charmed Coincidence

I walk my dog in the cemetery every morning. Joey and I are a familiar presence there, and I have a waving and greeting acquaintance with the all people who work there, as well as with the other people who walk there. I take Joey to the cemetery for walks because he has terrible leash aggression, and we are usually unlikely to encounter other dogs there. We prefer to walk in Cedar Park, the part of the cemetery designed in the late 19th-century, where the curving roads and gentle hills provide an interesting and varied walk for both dog and human. One day last week, however, there were other dogs in that part of the cemetery, so Joey and I went across the road to the older part, the Hudson City Cemetery.

I drove in, taking the road that runs parallel to Ten Broeck Lane and then turns and runs parallel to Columbia Turnpike, and parked at the curve just beyond the gravestone with the sundial. Joey and I then walked up toward the GAR cemetery and around to Fred W. Jones's mausoleum and then circled around back to the car. When we were leaving the cemetery, I noticed in passing that there was a tree branch on the road I had taken when entering the cemetery and wondered, "Was that there when I drove in?"

I didn't realize the magnitude of what had fallen onto the roadway until the next day. Nearly half the tree had broken away. It covered the entire path, and DPW had placed orange cones to block off the road. There was no way I could have entered the cemetery as I did with that obstructing the path. Seeing this, my wondering became, "Did that fall while I was here in the cemetery with Joey?"

This morning, I learned the whole story from one of the DPW workers in the cemetery--the one who is very fond of dogs and always stops to talk to Joey (and me) when our paths cross.

The tree this morning, after the clean up

He confirmed that I was in the cemetery when the tree fell. I had been seen by one of his coworkers. That person was traveling from the newer part of the cemetery to the older part in one of the open golf carts DPW uses to get around the vast acreage of our graveyard. Crossing Ten Broeck Lane, he spotted me and Joey and paused to wonder why I was in that part of the cemetery, because I normally walk on the other side. According to him, that pause was the only thing that kept him from being right under that enormous limb when it fell. He told the guy who was telling me the story, "Next time you see that woman, tell her she saved my life." 

That was a very nice thing to hear at the start of the day. It made me feel as if I had been, albeit unwittingly, an instrument for good.