Wooden Boxes


Today I took Olive back to vets for a check up, after she was discharged I took her for a walk. We were in a quiet residential street, apartments on one side and two-storey houses on the other. There were boxes of late flowering geraniums that had survived last weeks snow, and as we passed one house with a large rose bush, still with crimson blooms upon it, the perfume was quite intense. We rounded a corner and a small non-descript curtain-sided truck was being loaded with what looked like coffins. Being of the nosey persuasion, I crossed the road and strolled past and my assumption was affirmed, they were coffins, but not just ordinary plain wooden boxes, they were beautiful.

As I walked back to the car I noticed the truck had gone, so I walked by and took a look inside the building where the coffins had come from and was met with a cheery ‘”Giorno,” I replied and the man inside let me take a look at his workshop. Inside were coffins of various stages of manufacture, some in red wood, some in pale wood and a couple in dark wood that was almost black. The man inside explained that it was his job to make them and put on the fittings, and then he pointed to a table where silver and gold coloured handles were. He went on to tell me they then went from his workshop to another place to have the linings put inside.

On the bench was a small coffin with inlaid wood depicting a climbing rose, similar in colour to the one giving off its scent earlier, it was obviously a child’s casket but this sombre piece of woodworking was beautiful, achingly sad yet beautiful. I wanted to tell the man that it was beautiful, but he could see from my expression and said, “Bellissima, vero?” meaning, beautiful, isn’t it?

I agreed.

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