Monday, May 05, 2008

A Visit to the Cemetery

There is a fairly large cemetery near my house, which apparently has always been a sort of tourist attraction. But not in a tacky way. It is known for its landscaping. Many of the trees and plants are labeled, so you know what you're looking at, which is a very helpful feature. Everything in nature should be labeled.

I saw a witch hazel bush, which I have never knowingly seen before, and an "alumroot" plant. Does alum come from plants? They have a couple elms, which were planted in 1998. When I was growing up, all the elms one ever saw or heard about were dead. These must be a new disease-resistant kind. I also saw some trees labeled "plane trees," but which I would call sycamores.

I do not know if the cemetery is still accepting reservations, as it were. But we saw one tombstone which is reserved for two people. One was born in 1923 and died in 2002. The other was born in 1920 and has not yet arrived at his final resting place.

At the center of the cemetery is a hill, and upon the hill is a tower. No one is buried there. You can go up to the top and look out over the landscape. There are 95 steps in the tower (which is spelled "ninty-five" on the informational placard) and when you get up to the top of the stairwell the walls of the tower curve inwards over your head.

I find cemeteries to be very peaceful places. There is no rational reason for it, but irrationally speaking, it's enough to make me wonder if death is not what we suppose it to be.

No comments: