Death Is Your Gift

October 19, 2014 at 10:22 am (Book Commentary) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

“And I will show you something different from either your shadow at morning striding behind you or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”  (T.S. Eliot)

Mount Pleasant Cemetery_SC

I was a Cemetery Girl. This was before goth was a thing. As a child, my best friend and I use to wander the local graveyards exploring and reading the gravestones. It was peaceful. It was quiet. It was a pleasant way to spend a coolish Fall afternoon.

It was usually Fall when you would find us in the graveyard. Leaves would be falling and the world’s axis was spinning into winter and long, cold days of nothing to do. Fall is my favourite season. It is cool. School is starting. There is a quietness in the air. Halloween is just around the corner.

Most of the cemeteries we haunted were country cemeteries; the closet one was a block outside of town. The other one we visited regularly was a mile out. We hardly ever saw anyone else there. It seemed a shame. There was so much beauty and peacefulness there and everyone else was missing it.

We come upon an old woman in black, holding an umbrella against the sun, sitting in front of her husband’s grave on an overturned bucket. She speaks to us in her own language, pointing at the face on the black headstone, crying into a hankie. Lisa gives her a fresh bottle of water. (p. 244)

Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training
by Tom Jokinen
Toronto:Random House of Canada, 2010

Country Cemetery (Dahlton)

I still haunt graveyards. I’ve taken pictures of cemeteries all over Saskatchewan, in Scotland and recently in Anchorage, Alaska. I’m always going to regret not being able to get to explore the historical cemetery at Skagway.

Death intrigues me. No, how we process death intrigues me. No, the history sitting around in graveyards entrances me. I am an explorer of the past. I like to explore what use to be.

I also wonder about what is beyond – beyond the shadows, beyond death. What is the next step? Knowing the plan calms me. I like to know the steps, what to do, what ie expected of me at each turn. Don’t surprise me. I hate surprises!

Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery

I delight in exploring cemeteries and graveyards. Did you know the two terms are not interchangeable? A cemetery is an area set apart for or containing graves, tombs, or funeral urns, especially one that is not a churchyard. A graveyard is a burial ground, associated with or beside a church.

I also delight in reading books about the death industry. I enjoyed the television series Six Feet Under and always wanted to live in a large, Victorian funeral home.

The latest funeral industry book I bought is Caitlin Doughty’s book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Caitlin oversees the blog The Order of the Good Death that I regularly read and has a series of videos about death and the way we (as a society) deal with it. Scroll down this page for the book video.

I am a cemetery girl. I haunt graveyards. Death is my familiar. I fear not.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Photo Friday: Mobile Phone Photo

July 21, 2013 at 9:34 am (Meme) (, , , , , )

Tilted Fence

Taken with iphone 4 on auto – I was standing on the sidewalk trying to keep the bottom of the fence level, not sure if it worked or not. I like the photo just not sure why. It’s not a personal connection – I don’t know anyone who lives in that house or built that fence. It’s not something that I can articulate, it just makes me smile. I love the colour of the wood, the way the sunlight hits it and the clear blue above. I love the way the shadows dance on the wood.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Surprise: Fences, Walls and Shadows

January 27, 2013 at 10:13 am (Blogging, Meme) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I go out for my morning walk without my camera because I just plan to walk; it’s too cold to fiddle with a camera and really, how much has the landscape changed anyway!

However, Friday’s photo memes are peculating in my head.

Walls and shadows. Shadows and walls.

Angel Shadow

Shadows are easy. It’s an early morning walk; the sun is just coming up and it’s at my back. I just have to remember not to get my shadow in the picture.

The most interesting things about the picture I don’t even notice until I get home  and start manipulating the image. My focus as I shoot is on the smiley face. I don’t notice the angel shadow to the left and is that Santa’s sleigh still stuck on the roof?

Shadowed House
My Shadow
By Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.
.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
.
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
.
Wall or Fence
.
Walls are trickier. If you go to Ailsa’s post you see that one of her pictures, which she names a stone wall, I would call a stone fence.
.
Was the Berlin Wall a wall or a fence? What’s the difference?
.
A wall is, according to the dictionary, any of various permanent upright constructions having a length much greater than the thickness and presenting a continuous surface except where pierced by doors, windows, etc. A wall is used for shelter, protection, or privacy,  to fence in an area, etc. A wall encloses, shuts off, divides, protects, borders, etc., example: to wall the yard.
.
While, a fence is a barrier enclosing or bordering a field, yard, etc., usually made of posts and wire or wood, used to prevent entrance, to confine, or to mark a boundary.
.
I guess it’s just a matter of idioms (see definition number 2 here). What I call a fence, you may call a wall. What you call a wall, I may call a fence.
.
Enjoy these shadows and walls from my wintery, always unexpected, morning walk. Remember, surprises are everywhere.

Permalink 2 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 36 other followers