I was born and raised in northeast Mississippi. As a young child I was afraid of cemeteries. When I was 14, my family moved to a farm at the end of a long gravel road which bisected a large rural cemetery. There was also an old small family cemetery on the farm just a few hundred feet from my house. As time went by, I ventured into those cemeteries and began to feel at ease. So often, when I needed to think through my teenage conflicts, these places of rest provided a quiet sense of perspective and mystery. Sometimes I would do pencil etchings of gravestones with beautiful designs and sometimes I would sit beneath the large oak tree in the large cemetery and imagine the life scenes that must have taken place there over the 125 years before me. That old oak tree is gone now and I live a thousand miles away, but the memories of the hours spent there always take me to a calm place in my mind.