Tag Archives: Cemeteries

Twilight in Forks, Washington

Forks, Washington

Forks, Washington

Yes, that Forks, Washington. The town that inspired Stephenie Meyer’s brooding location for her Twilight series.  I was in the neighborhood, touring along the wild coastline and couldn’t resist stopping. There were plenty of Twilight fans in town, but I had the cemetery all to myself. 

Rainy weather in Forks

Rainy weather in Forks

It’s small and plain, kind of like the town, but it had its charm. Thankfully, there wasn’t a werewolf or vampire reference in sight.

Handmade memorial in Forks, Washing ton

Handmade memorial in Forks, Washing ton

I loved the quirky, homemade memorials.

This rose was about 4 feet tall.

This rose was about 4 feet tall.

Lovely, handmade marker.

Lovely, handmade marker.

La Push, Washington is just down the road from Forks. I wanted to visit the tribal cemetery there, but it was closed to outsiders. I got to go to the beach though, one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been! 

The beach on the reservation in La Push, Washington.

The beach on the reservation in La Push, Washington.

The locals told us that the author had never visited. She really missed out. The landscape was truly inspiring.


Graveyard Benches

William Jewell Cemetery, Liberty, Missouri

William Jewell Cemetery, Liberty, Missouri

Do you ever accept the invitation to rest and ponder?

Walnut Glen, Booneville, Missouri

Walnut Glen, Booneville, Missouri

 I think you can tell when the loved-ones were serious. Many state the implicit invitation in writing.

“We really mean it! Have a seat.”

Dungeness, Washington

Dungeness, Washington

With others, it’s the careful landscaping or spectacular view that makes me feel welcome.

Hazelwood Cemetery, Springfield, Missouri

Hazelwood Cemetery, Springfield, Missouri

Unless the bench is old and frail, or occupied,  I take a seat.

Walnut Glen, Booneville, Missouri

Walnut Glen, Booneville, Missouri

In Missouri, that's all I remember.

In Missouri, that’s all I remember.

 

       

Be respectful. Use common sense and good judgement, but try it sometime. You’ll feel a very visceral connection. More than simply reading the words on a stone or even enjoying the beauty of a sculpture. This is personal.

Lee's Summit, Missouri

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Let me know what your experience was like.


A Creepy Day

North Lawn Cemetery, Rolla, Missouri

North Lawn Cemetery, Rolla, Missouri

I took a trip through southern Missouri months ago.  

Angel in a box, Rolla, Missouri

Angel in a box, Rolla, Missouri

I had a lovely day, enjoying the blood-pressure-lowering tranquility I usually experience in cemeteries.

North Lawn Cemetery, Rolla, Missouri

North Lawn Cemetery, Rolla, Missouri

North Lawn Cemetery

North Lawn Cemetery

But as I looked over these shots this morning, a decidedly creepy vibe came through.

If you squint, it kind of looks like it's floating.

If you squint, it kind of looks like it’s floating.

I don’t try for spooky when I aim my camera. I just look for interesting angles, beautiful stones.

It's the shadow in this one. There's a weight to it that I don't remember feeling when I was there.

Hickory Grove Cemetery near Rolla, Missouri

But look at this ominous shadow! I totally missed it while I was there.

North Lawn Cemetery

Interesting bright blue orb.

Do you see the creep factor in this group of images too, or am I just in a mood?


Dad’s Passing

Peonies from the yard, Memorial Day 2013

Peonies from the yard, Memorial Day 2013

My dad died back in March.  Of course I miss him.

The prospect of getting back to my blog about how much I love graveyards gave me the worst case of writers’ block I’ve ever had. I couldn’t decide what to say, how much to say. For a while, I wondered if I could keep the blog going at all. 

But after all these months I’m finally able to walk into a cemetery and feel that quiet, timeless comfort again. 

My grandfather chose this site. He always said we could throw a rock at his grave as we drove by.

My grandfather chose this site.
He always said we could throw a rock at his grave as we drove by.

 My sisters and I haven’t marked his grave yet. I definitely have a new appreciation for the complexities of choosing tombstones.

The cemetery where he’s buried only allows stamped bronze markers, the kind mounted flush to the ground, but I’m determined to give taphophiles like me a better clue about how my dad lived his life than the typical phrase, “loving father and husband” provides.  But how do you sum up a life in twenty words or less?

Here’s the epitaph I’ve come up with that seems to suit him best so far…

William Frederick Moore

May 9, 1932 – March 28, 2013

He loved his family, the great outdoors, and the two-step.

Dad caught this whopper at Table Rock Lake - a nineteen pounder!

Dad caught this whopper at Table Rock Lake – a nineteen pounder!

I love you, Dad.


Oh, Pioneers!

Antioch Pioneer Cemetery, Overland Park, Kansas

Antioch Pioneer Cemetery, Overland Park, Kansas

Finding this beautiful little cemetery was one of those brakes screeching, right-turn-without-a-signal moments for me. It was a rainy day.  I hadn’t planned on visiting anyplace that didn’t involve parking close and scurrying into an open door as quickly as possible.

Quaint, little church still standing on the site.

Quaint, little church still standing on the site.

Lucky for me, the Antioch Pioneer Cemetery called to me, and I had my camera in the car.

Exquisite, marble flutist.

Exquisite, marble flutist.

I’m a sucker for an elegant marble statue and these girls took my breath away.

What a pretty face!

I need to go back and take more pictures on a day when I don’t have to worry about keeping my camera dry.

She's in the Antioch Pioneer Cemetery.

Elegant.

Surprises like these keep me digging graves.

Visit this one sometime.

Visit this one sometime.


Rocks of Ages

Sure, there’s a lot of stone in cemeteries, but there aren’t a lot of rocks. They always grab my attention when I see them. This one in Rolla, Missouri was about the size of a Smart Car.

Ashland Cemetery, St. Joseph, Missouri

Ashland Cemetery, St. Joseph, Missouri

They can’t help but be striking, some for the sheer size of them.

How do you choose a boulder for your loved one? Is there a store? Is it a rock from the deceased’s favorite mountainside…a beloved picnic spot? Once you’ve picked one out, how in the world do you transport it?

Genoa, Nevada

Genoa, Nevada

Sometimes the natural beauty of the stone makes it pretty obvious why someone chose it.

Dungeness, Washington

Dungeness, Washington

And I like the functionality of this boulder in Dungeness. Two people’s remains are encased there. I’ve seen this type of burial from Washington to Florida. Sometimes whole families will be entombed in the same stone. I bet it’s a greener way to go.

City Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee

City Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee

Sometimes you just know there has to be a story.

Are natural stone memorials a common sight in your part of the world?


Christmas Eve, Nashville, TN

Twilight at the City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee

Twilight at the City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee

Is it weird to seek out a quiet hour on Christmas Eve and find myself in a cemetery? I can see some of you nodding. “Yes, Laura, it is kind of odd.”  I’ve got to admit that when I got in the car and left my family – not in a huff, my family’s great – with Google map in hand, to drive to a part of Nashville I’d never seen,(after twenty years of visiting for the holidays), I wondered a little myself.

Nashville, Tennessee

But when I found the City Cemetery and got out to walk around, that familiar sense of peace settled over me and I knew that at least for an hour, I was in exactly the right place.

Nashville, Tennessee

It’s a beautiful, old cemetery with some really interesting stones. Like this one. Does anybody know the story here? The plaque reads, Ann Rawlin Sanders. She was 21 when she died. No, wife-of or beloved daughter.  It was 1836. It would have been quite a feat to move a boulder this huge. It crossed my mind that the rock is a natural feature of the spot, the tip of the iceberg so to speak. But then how could they bury someone under it?

Nashville, Tennessee

There were three great angels.

Nashville, Tennessee

Erosion had washed away details on this last one, leaving rather more to the imagination than the sculptor probably intended.

Nashville, TennesseeNashville, Tennessee

The second shot shows the outline of a wing better, giving the sense of the angel carrying off the dearly departed much better than the first shot – in which I got the wrong idea all together.

Nashville, Tennessee

This was an interesting marker. It reads, Thomas B. Coleman, Mayer of Nashville, 1842. Really? The mayor with a misspelled,  plain, wooden plank? There’s got to be a story here too.

Nashville, Tennessee

It’s a lovely place. I would have stayed longer if it hadn’t been getting so late. Stop by next time you’re driving through Music City.


Remembrances

Happy Homestead, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Happy Homestead, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

I felt reluctant to blog about my love of graveyards this week in the wake of the horrific tragedy in Connecticut. But it’s not death that I blog about. It’s not death that I see in cemeteries. Not really. It’s peace and healing.

Genoa, Nevada

Genoa, Nevada

I see every grave marker as a step on a journey for both the living and the dead.

Dungeness, Washington. I love that she comes here to journal.

Dungeness, Washington. I love that she comes here to journal.

Grave decorations represent an outpouring of grief. There’s often such a raw sense of intimacy around the newest ones that I feel like an intruder just looking at them. And yet, they’re also a kind of invitation, grieve with me, support me.

Ashland Cemetery, St. Joseph, Missouri

Ashland Cemetery, St. Joseph, Missouri

 And they’re always beautiful, full of color and life, often even a sense of humor. I’ve never found anything ugly or angry left at a grave. Doesn’t that show a spirit moving out of darkness into light?

Moore Cemetery, near Liberty, Missouri

Moore Cemetery, near Liberty, Missouri

I believe that the children who died in Connecticut on Friday are already at peace.

Muddy Forks Cemetery, Kearney, Missouri

Muddy Forks Cemetery, Kearney, Missouri

Though our hearts are breaking and it may take a very long time, the funerals that start today are their families’ first steps to finding peace too. My thoughts are with them.


A Tombstone Tourist Does Seattle

Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, Washington.

Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, Washington

My vacation itinerary always includes a cemetery or two…or three. Sure, I love checking out the art scene in a new city, historical sites, shopping and eating. I’m a foodie too, definitely. But you see an entirely different side of a place when you visit its graves, don’t you think?

Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, Washington

Piano or harpsichord? Either way it’s lovely.

On my recent trip to Seattle, I did my usual vacation prep and Mapquested cemeteries in the area. There are about six, but with the coffee and the chocolate and the glass museums and the history and… did I mention the chocolate? I only had time for Lake View. What a jewel!

I wondered who left the flower, descendant or art lover.

I wondered who left the flower, descendant or art lover.

These gnarly, twisted trees were everywhere.

These gnarly, twisted trees were everywhere.

Lake View was established back in 1872 and sits up on Capital Hill northeast of downtown Seattle. One of those cool, old neighborhoods that just oozes character has grown up around it so it’s a bit of a twisty trek to get there. But worth it! The monuments are a great mix of styles, old and new, East and West.

This one says, "The more people I meet, the more I love my cat."

This one says, “The more people I meet, the more I love my cat.” You’ve got to love a tombstone with a sense of humor!

I love the name and the calligraphy.

Great name. Beautiful calligraphy.

A murder of crows  claims the cemetery grounds and every monument in them. The birds are smart and wary and hard to get a decent picture of, but their raucous chatter never stopped.

Keeping watch over her domain.

Keeping watch over her domain.

He knew his grave would end up being a perch for crows anyway.

He knew his grave would end up being a perch for crows anyway.

So, for a short visit to Seattle, I’d put Lake View, the EMP Museum (AWESOME), the Chihuly glass museum and all the European sipping chocolate you can sample on my list of must-do’s. Anybody have any other suggestions for a Seattle trip? I definitely want to go back.  I know that Jimi Hendrix is buried in Greenwood Memorial nearby. Anybody been there?


It’s All About the View

Dungeness, Washington

I’m back. Life and travel kept me from posting for a while. The good news is I brought pictures!

Walnut Glen, Booneville, Missouri

Have you ever noticed how many cemeteries have names like: Fairview, Grandview,  and Lakeview? Or how about the ones that feature their landscaping like: Walnut Glen, Tall Oaks, Floral Hills?

Floral Hills, Kansas City, Missouri

Are there professional cemetary landscape architects? Must be. Their handiwork is obvious sometimes. At the very least, in most cemeteries somebody planned out the roads.

Mount Olivet, Kearney, Missouri

The cemetery above commands the view from the highest hill in town. It probably used to be gorgeous. Though I wouldn’t call it that anymore, it’s still interesting…vital…colorful?

Happy Homestead, South Lake Tahoe, California

As gorgeous as some of the more manicured cemeteries are, I love the good old-fashioned graveyards best. The ones with narrow, winding roads, or paths, or nothing at all.

Fairview, Kearney, Missouri

Mount Vernon, Atchison, Kansas

Those graveyards tend to have a lot of benches. I always make a point to take a seat. It felt uncomfortable at first, but a bench is an invitation, right? It’s kind of rude to ignore it.

Walnut Glen, Booneville, Missouri

Do you think that people take such care to make cemeteries beautiful for the living or the dead?

Virginia City, Nevada


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