Saturday, May 22, 2010

Walking in an Old Cemetery Is an Eerie Experience




Here comes a rather macabre admission:  I love cemeteries.


It's a strange fetish inherited from my late mother.  Whenever we'd travel to a new place, she'd almost inevitably ask, "Where's the cemetery?"

Cemeteries can be fascinating places, filled with history. Old tombstones often have thought-provoking messages that make a "living" bystander think.

As luck would have it, every day, recently,  I've had the opportunity to drive by an old New England cemetery, established in 1781,  that was actually added to the National Historic Register in 2000.  It's no longer used for burials and, unfortunately, by the looks of its condition, not much is being done for its upkeep, except that the grass is neatly cut.  Many of the stones, as seen in the photos, look like they are ready to fall over entirely. 

One afternoon, camera in hand, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and ventured into the cemetery which is located near some woods in a small New England town. It felt very strange walking amid the old tombstones, many of which have become very crooked. It was kind of creepy.

I wanted to read some of the inscriptions but age and bad weather have pretty much obliterated the lettering which was terribly disappointing. After all, it would be quite interesting to know who is buried here.

On a positive note, someone added new American flags, probably to the graves of those who served this country in the military.

One marker indicated that a baby had died at age 10 days. Reading about that little life that ended too soon filled me with compassion for the parents who had been left behind. Who were they and how did they bear the grief of losing their little one?  How did the baby die?  Was it from influenza or typhoid fever? Those questions will never be answered.

As I walked among the graves, the sky was overcast. I couldn't help but digress and think how quickly life goes by.  Way over to one side of the graveyard, almost in the woods, were several markers, probably of an entire family who is no more.






To tell the truth, I was glad to get back into my car and drive away. May all those souls rest in peace. Meanwhile, it's sheer happiness to still be very much alive!


WOULD YOU WALK THROUGH A CEMETERY AT NIGHT?

16 comments:

Nancy's Notes said...

I find walking through a cemetery so fascinating too! Now had never thought about walking through one at night!! Hummm...suppose so if I were not alone!!

Have a great day Susan!

Nancy

Leann said...

I think cemeteries are very peaceful and some are soo elaborate they. I don't think I'd walk through one alone at night, but with a friend? Sure!

Enjoy your weekend!
Leann

Victorian1885 said...

I love cemetaries as well..when we visited New England a few years ago the cemetary in Salem was our favorite to date! I am not sure I would go to visit one at night..have a good weekend!

Wanda

Linda said...

I like cemeteries also but in the day time. I love the old headstones and the thoughts of lives lived long ago.

diane stetson said...

I've walked through a cemetary in the day, in the night, and picked flowers there...used to live closeby to one. I've quite a few stories to tell about my experiences with cemetaries..too long for this reply.."oooo"

Chatty Crone said...

I walk through cemetaries in the day time - don't think I'd like to at night. I'd be scared! sandie

Carmelina said...

yesterday was my day to ponder graves and all those sleeping souls, including my papa...

today, as you say, I celebrate life and creativity!

ciao bella
creative carmelina

Carmelina said...

thanks for your kind sentiments, btw! you are so sweet!

ciao again

Dayle Allen Shockley said...

Susan, I so relate to this. I, too, am a lover of cemeteries, especially old ones. I have a trip in my future to go see my great-great-great grandfather's grave. One of the historians/librarians in the town has helped me in this adventure and I'm totally psyched about it.

Dianne said...

I love old cemeteries... They are such powerful and historic places. My brother and I have taken many trips just to visit some. And we have been searching for the grave of my dad's baby sister in the cemetery in his home town. We think we have found it, where just a portion of a small headstone protrudes from under the roots of an oak tree. And yes I have and will walk in a cemetery at night... I'll have to tell you about a scare I had one night in one sometime...

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

They fascinate me, but I don't go very often. Since my husband died, it stirs up too many sad memories. I'd rather read a biography.

LDH said...

It IS sheer happiness to still be very much alive! I liked the way you ended this interesting post! No, I probably would not walk through a cemetery at night if it was dark. Since doing our family genealogy, I have come to really love visiting cemeteries and reading the headstones. And sadly, one does see many tiny headstones of babies and small children.

Susan said...

Hi Everybody! SOOOOO happy you all came to visit. It's always wonderful having each of you stop by and comment. Great, great, great!

Now, I'm going to answer my own question. Would I walk through a cemetery at night?

Answer: NO NO NO NO NO Not on your life. Not if someone offered me $100. Not with a friend and not alone. Uh uh. No way. No siree. Not no how. Sincerely, Susan (who is afraid of cemeteries at night)

Martha's Favorites said...

Hi: I have walked in old cemeteries before. They are very interested. I would avoid at all costs the night walks. Have a wonderful week. Blessings, Martha

BECKY said...

Susan, I like the really old, country cemeteries....reading people's names back then and the years they lived, etc. Very interesting!

Susan said...

Hi Martha! Hi Becky! Thanks for coming and commenting! See you soon, I hope. Sincerely, Susan

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