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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reverence

The definitions of reverence:
 a feeling of profound awe and respect, and often love.
                                            
an act showing respect; such as a bow or curtsey.
                                           
 a high opinion of something.
                                           
 an attitude of deep respect and esteem; veneration.


"By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep and alive."--Albert Schweitzer.

I suppose that today, September 11th, is a fitting day to post some pictures I took a couple weeks ago at the cemetary near my house that I often visit. Erik and I often go there, because we both find cemetaries to be places of peaceful reflection, solitude and reverence, not neccessarily places of sadness.
True, the circumstances which bring us and others to such places initally are sad and grievous; but later, they become places of peace, places of remembrance. The dead are our history and they are also reminders that life has value.
 I wish the terrorists who planned and did such horrible deeds  9 yrs ago today would have understood that life has value; especially all those innocent people, who died needlessly and horribly. I wish these terrorists had followed Albert Schweitzer's advice above. That's all I have to say about it.


We don't know anyone that's buried in this cemetary; we just go there because we like to walk in the park-like beauty, pause to enjoy the silence, glean what history we can from reading the names, visit old graves that may not have had a visitor for a hundred years or more (burials began in Prairie Home Cemetary in the 1850s). We mostly come to revere. We especially like the older headstones, like this one. There were many popular motifs that were used on old stones. A weeping willow was commonly used; as was this image of hands clasped in a handshake or as a sign of welcome. An urn finial was often used on the top of a large stone, sometimes partially draped by a  carved stone cloth, or completely draped; a sign of mourning no doubt.
There is a certain beauty is such a place; a beauty of silence, of peace, of monuments made to show where a loved one rests for eternity.
Sometimes I fancy I can hear the whisperings of the past in the wind............


You would think that a place that has seen so much sadness and tears would not feel and look so lovely. But it does....




This one is my favorite; it has a lovely poem on it that I keep meaning to write down, because I can never remember all of it. Even though the soft stone has been damaged by 117 years of rain and wind, you can still see that it was meant to look like a scroll with tassels on the side and oak leaves above. No doubt the oak leaves have some significance; most of the decorations or motifs on these old stones do. I can say that I really prefer the old styles to the new. New gravestones, to me, lack something.


Here we find the clasped hands again.
On the upper part of this same stone, there are cherub faces on all four sides.
Someone still leaves flowers regularly at this crypt, even though there are only two burials inside it (there's room for six coffins) and the last burial was in 1917.
It also boasts a beautiful stained glass window on the back.
Another crypt has these beautiful copper doors with a wreath motif on them.
This is the largest obelisk in the cemetary (and that's Erik next to it). This was an old family in town, prosperous, important.

And lastly, but not least....the man who we are 99% sure built our house in 1886-1887. He was a carpenter, contractor and builder in town, and he died in 1892 of pneumonia. He was from Vermont, and served in the Civil War. His family has no descendents here. I'm sure to be visiting him (and the rest of them, who are buried next to him) from time to time.


Thanks for stopping by!

5 comments:

Deanna said...

The tombstones are really very pretty. I sometimes wonder who these people were and how they must have lived.

It amazes me how 9 years have gone by and how quickly so many have forgotten.

A sign of our times.
God bless you and may you have a sweet life,
d

Me and G said...

Katie,
The people who built our home are also buried in Prarie...we have visited them, and asked them not to 'visit' us...

I enjoy reading your blogs that pertain to history. I would love to see our town as it was during the Spring's Era. Your home is so close to Bethesda, and Maple was such a popular street for summer visitors to stay on.

nice pictures!

Katie@LeBeauPaonVictorien said...

We certainly have an interesting area...it's sad to see it now when I've seen pictures of what it used to be! Bethesda Springs Resort was incredibly gorgeous!
I'm sad that it's gone.

Eastlake Victorian said...

Katie-0

What a lovely post for 9/11. I love old cemeteries as well. It's saddest to me how some of the oldest stones have the names obliterated by years of weathering.

-Pam

Bead and Needle said...

What a beautiful post, Katie...really lovely!