Markers | Waterville, WA | 2013

Each spring, Ben trimmed snow-matted grass from around the tombstones. He personally knew just about everyone who’d died in the last 30 years, could point to their resting spots and recount the highlights of their lives. Ben insisted the lawn grew greener, thicker around grave markers of “good” people, while even weeds struggled to survive near the headstones of — he lowered his voice — the “town’s asses.” He could recount in detail their petty thefts, drunken brawls and domestic squabbles, but always forgave them their offenses. “They sour the grass,” he said, “which makes less work.”