Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wandering through a cemetery

Rain is in our forecast tomorrow but today is beautiful, sunny and light jacket warm. It's also a day to get out for a few hours and take some photos. It's on my list of things to do this week and with tomorrow's weather not looking very promising I decided to grab my camera and head out the door.

I was anxious to explore a small, abandoned cemetery not far from where I live that my husband and I stumbled upon last weekend while we were on our way to another destination.

The cemetery sits back off the road. Parking isn't great because it's on a narrow road and half-way down a small hill. I pull as much off the road as I can and get out.

After manuevering a small bank without breaking my neck, I begin walking among the headstones. There aren't many and if I had to guess, I would say there are about 50 scattered about the small hedge-row enclosed area.

Two Grand Army of the Republic (the Civil War) veterans and three Revolutionary War veterans are also buried here. Many of these people lived long lives dying in their late 70's and 80's, which is remarkable because it's still fairly rural where this cemetery is located and I can only imagine how tough life must have been.

I know cemeteries are rather morbid for most people but I love to haunt them (no pun intended), especially old ones whose residents lived during the 1700 's and 1800's. Why that period? Because during that time headstones were chiseled or carved with a lot of information about the deceased.

For instance, it would give the relationship: wife/mother, brother/sister, son/daughter, and husband/father as well as the birth and death dates. It would also have the age at death: 17 years, 5 months and 6 days. It might also include a short paragraph all painstakingly, and beautifully chiseled or carved onto the headstone.

Less than an 1/8 of a mile and within easy walking distance from this cemetery is a large church with an even larger cemetery. I can't remember the date the church was built, and I'm guessing here, but once the church was built, the abandoned cemetery was no longer used.

Some of the headstones in the churh cemetery have beautifully chiseled/carved motifs.

Sadly, due to the elements and some vandalism it's hard to read many of them now. Those that really get to me are the small markers where it's almost a given that a child is buried. Also the ones where the grave is marked with a small, simple, crudely shaped piece of flat stone -- some are marked with a name and maybe birth and death dates. Some nothing more than just the plain marker.
Another reason I like cemeteries is because, believe it or not, they are quiet places to walk and think.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

We're really into cemeteries as well. I love going their with the kids. We're just a few blocks--well within walking distance--of the cemetery where the victims of the Johnstown flood were buried. So it's old. Really interesting place to visit. Also down the road from us in a REALLY old quaker (I think) cemetery. Took some photos there a year or so ago. Really neat spot.