The Gravedigger’s Psyche

This post has a bit of a grey tone to it.  Maybe the rain has caused it.  Maybe it’s simply me.  Anyways consider yourself warned.

I ride the bus to my day job, and the stop where I get on is across the street from a veteran’s cemetery.  It’s a pretty place: rolling green fields spotted with the dabs of color from bouquets and backed by mountains.  The graves come right up to the main road, but those along the highway don’t have upright tombstones, so someone driving past might not even recognize the cemetery for what it is.

As I stood waiting for my bus this morning, I watched two men dig a grave with a backhoe.  I don’t know why I got thinking about it, but I wondered what those gravediggers—I was going to say workers, but they are gravediggers—thought about their job.  Each hole they dig represents a life lost, and people left behind.  Do those men look at each hole they dig in such a way, or is it just another hole them?  I would like to think it is more than a hole, but if it is, how does a gravedigger reconcile the accompanying emotions?

I’m not sure why this intrigued me so much.  Perhaps it’s an innate fascination with death (something that I think many people have), and a desire to ascribe more to the end of life than the simple fact that it’s a biological process, and really a single, important step in the cycle of nature.  More likely, a gravedigger’s job—and the people who would choose to do it—is something I simply don’t wholly understand, and my natural curiosity has gotten the better of me.    Whatever the reason, it’s captured my thoughts today with enough strength that I’m thinking about exploring it for a story.  It’ll be interesting to see where this one leads.

About D. Thomas Minton

Writer of speculative fiction
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1 Response to The Gravedigger’s Psyche

  1. ahamin says:

    It is a provoking thought… Having a daily job of putting deceased ones into their final resting place. It has a sense of horror, looking at what might be one day a place where one may lay for ever, s constant reminder… But, I remember meeting one, and he was a faithful man, he felt doing god’s work… I think there are a lot of mentalities when it comes to a concept like that… which is why I think it would be a good thing to explore it, you may end up with a great story.

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