Amongst the Dead, Inspiration for the Living

I have loved cemeteries since I was in college. My freshman year, I stumbled upon a graveyard down a steep wooded path from my dormitory. It had lush rolling hills that went on for days, dotted with graves from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Oh the headstones! Some were lovingly tended, others decayed and crumbling. Some were set demurely into the side of hill, others, like granite obelisks, loomed overhead. There were mausoleums with stained glass windows, statues of animals rearing up on their hind legs in defiance of death, stone monuments larger than some of the apartments I’ve lived in. It was over the top. I would often bring a blanket and a picnic and spend the day studying, always parking myself in front James Brown’s grave. It wasn’t the real James Brown, but I thought it was hilarious. Laying out my blanket, I would say, “Hi, James. It’s nice to see you again,” as if he had been waiting for me between visits. Well, I suppose he had.

After I graduated, I thought of that cemetery often, unable to find another that was as peaceful, as aesthetically and architecturally marvelous, as filled with such unusual tributes, as worthy of a picnic. I pined for that place. I even thought I might want to be buried there.

A few months ago, J told me about a cemetery he’d found on a bike ride one afternoon. He said it was picnic caliber. I told him that that was impossible, that there was no hope, that I’d been ruined for all other graveyards. He took me anyway, assuring me I wouldn’t be disappointed.

And I was not. Please find, above and below, some photos from our visit. Mind you, dear reader, these are just the Bs.


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