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Saturday, 6 August 2011
I now have a song stuck in my head. 
Not a brilliant song, but an appropriate one... (The Smiths, Cemetery Gates)

A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetery gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
While Wilde is on mine
So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people all those lives
Where are they now?
With the loves and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived and then they died.
I like cemeteries.
Maybe it is born of a professional familiarity (or living in church manses/ houses surrounded by cemeteries for many years), but I think it is more the peaceful quiet, the unbroken presence of so many names, so many lives, so much history unspoken.
Perhaps it is the call of the poet, Samuel Butler, who wrote:
I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
That my slumber shall not be broken;
And that though I be all-forgetting,
Yet shall I not be all-forgotten.
In visiting a cememtery, in walking among the stones, new and old, reading the names, the ages, the connections ('dear wife' beloved son') it is taking part in ensuring that these lives are not 'all forgotten'.
It is a remembering, if only for a fleeting moment, the life of one long gone.
(and maybe it is a hoping that others will do the same for us!)
Mary Luzette, Age 25, "sleep wife, and take your rest", 1880
We stopped at the Chapman Valley Cemetery (a little out of the way spot) particularly to see the amazing and noble trees that stand as sentries over a century and more of rest.
Sadly, one of the great guardians had recently been cut down~ the smell of its sap still pungent in the air.
And in its absence, it left one little angel without shleter.  I imagine that the placement of this stone, apart from the others, had to do with the spreading boughs of the tree above... and now its stands quite alone.  It marks the life of a boy of 12, with the statement "at play and work in the fields of the Lord".
Our little exploration of the cemetery came to an end when a bee stung Rowan (life goes on!), but it was good to remember these ones~ to read their names, to wonder at their long journeys to this remote northern place from European cities in Switzerland and to appreciate the beauty of the day which is ours (bees and all!).
Do you have a favourite cemetery or peaceful place? ♥♥


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