When a machine pays respect

by Arif Ahmad


There are probably good reasons why some nations are blessed

For have you ever seen a machine pay respect

Until recently I did not either but now I have

It happened at the funeral of a family friend in Chicago

The burial was in the Muslim section of a shared multifaith cemetery

The grave all dug out and ready

Helping us were these two young Caucasians, a blond and a dark haired one, maybe Jewish, probably Christian, though I cannot be certain

If actions had a voice for they never spoke a word

It is as they closed the grave is when the point of this writing occurred

The man with the long blond hair got on a big tractor parked some distance away

He then weaved the tractor through a previously determined path between the graves never once trampling on their flat name plates or on the many a flowers spread

The tractor then lowered a cement slab into the grave, extremely slowly, as if out of respect

It then moved out and backed up again on another well chosen path

It now eased the dug out earth back over the grave, again extremely slowly, its body language exuding respect

The timely respite on this hot and humid day with cloud cover and some pleasant breeze made me realize that someone up there was probably happy with what they were seeing

And I stood there admiring the person who lay in the grave and these two helpers and their machine

So I guess

There are probably good reasons why certain nations are blessed