The most difficult part of any creative endeavor is the waiting. The excruciating period between the conception and seeing the final product. Even if the process of creation goes perfectly – and it so rarely does – the physical world can only go so far in recreating the imaginary, even with the most skilled artisan manipulating it.
Almost no one would describe Stan Turner as artistic. He was a quiet man who lived a quiet life in a quiet community. For the past forty-odd years he had served as the one stop shop for the dead in Bald Peak, Massachusetts. Stan was the mortician, the funeral director, and the undertaker. It was widely agreed that he took better care of the dead than most had taken of themselves while living. In fact, in their caskets, many of the community members had never looked more alive.
Yes, he made and dressed up the bodies for their funerals, and yes he lowered them into their graves and covered them up, but Mr. Turner buried a secret with many of the bodies in the Bald Peak Cemetery. Being the person who maintained the grounds meant that he had total control over where the plots were placed. Being the sole qualified mortician in the area meant that he had no shortage of job security. So the one great asset Stan had in his art was time.
It could very well be that no one has better used that to his advantage. At least Stan thought so, bracing and trimming the trees that made the Bald Peak Cemetery the attractive resting place that it was. He seemed to do that almost more than the actual business of burying people, and after he passed away, the town of Bald Peak found out why.
The most curious part of his will was that Stan Turner wanted to be cremated, not buried, with his ashes to be scattered from a plane above the cemetery. The farmer from the next county who offered his crop duster for the proceedings nearly fell out of the plane once he was approached the property from above.
The trees growing across the graves below spelled out: “STAN WAS HERE.”