kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rest in Peace (it's Halloween)

Holiday decorating is not something in which I usually indulge.  But with Halloween coming up, I began thinking of graveyards and what they mean to me. 

In past centuries, before antibiotics and vaccines and c-sections and bypass surgery, death was an ever-present visitor.  Children died of a plethora of diseases, mothers died in childbirth and people died of old age in their 60's.  There isn't a small town anywhere in our country where you will not find a local graveyard.  People were laid to rest in churchyards, town cemeteries or in family plots near their home.

Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated by graveyards.  Not the modern memorial garden kind, but the ones with the lovely old weathered stones from the bygone centuries.  To me these markers have so much more beauty and character.  I love to study these hand cut, lichen covered mementos of past lives.

I like to look upon graveyards not as spooky or sinister places of ghosts and hauntings, but as a peaceful area for reflective thinking.  OK, I don't go there after dark usually!  So maybe there is just a little bit of superstition in me. 

                                                   The graveyard at Middle Spring, PA

        Stones marking the graves of Shippensburg area Revolutionary War soldiers

When I was a junior in high school in 1964, our Art Club was fortunate to be offered a trip to the World's Fair in New York City.  I don't remember much about the fair, but I do remember coming into the city by bus and passing the largest graveyard I had ever seen.  Miles and miles of tombstones were packed so tightly that you would hardly have room to walk among them.  The World's Fair had nothing quite that spectacular!

Amish graveyard on a bare windy hill outside of Newburg, PA

Some of my favorite graveyards are in New England.  They are some of the oldest in the country, with the most poignant  tombstone art.  I love the little faces and skulls with the angel wings!

                                                     I think this churchyard is in Maine

Aren't these tombstones lovely?  They were carved two hundred years ago and are still intact.

I don't remember where this picture was taken.  Somewhere in New England, I would guess.  I can't imagine a lovelier place to be laid to rest.

Picket fence, red geraniums, and a statue of a lovely young woman overlooking it all.

This picture I took on Monday when I attended the hook-in at Falling Spring Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg.  I love this old cemetery behind the church.  I think I've photographed it in every season.

I will leave you with some of my favorite 'famous last words'.

                    "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees".

The dying words of Stonewall Jackson, general in the confederate army during the American Civil War.

Peace be with you!


  1. Pat - this is the lovliest posting of all you have ever done. Bravo!

  2. Very peaceful! With me living in NJ I should know the large cemetary you are referring to, but I really don't. There is a rather large one in the Oranges? I find the New England cemetaries the most peaceful too... heck, if it weren't for the overly long winters filled with feet and feet of snow... I'd move to New England in a heartbeat! I

  3. I'm with Sharon on New England - absolutely love that area and have always wanted to live there.

    Beautiful pics Pat but I was hesistant to open your post with the title - gave me a start that something happened to someone at first

  4. The title of your post scared me! I, too love old graveyards. Your pictures are gorgeous!

  5. Sharon (Moosecraft),
    It's been sooo long I have no idea the route we took into the city to the Fair. But from research in recent years and internet pictures, I'm thinking old Calvary Cemetery in Queens.

  6. Pat, since I just read Kim 's post of Fields of Dreams and she just had to have to put her beloved dog to sleep, I was thinking, oh No, not one of Pat's cats too. Your title really caught me by surprise.

    Cemeteries are not my favorite place to be but I also feel that it's a resting place for those who are taken back by Mother earth. I feel that God loves us unconditionally and takes us back when we no longer can make it on our own. God gives and take through Mother earth.

    Have a nice Halloween Pat. JB

  7. Pat ~
    What a wonderful post and such beautiful pictures. I, too, love the old cemeteries. Thanks for sharing the pics of the gravestones with the angels. Even the last picture posted of the leaf in the urn is beautiful!
    Pug hugs and Happy Halloween to you :)

  8. Hi Pat.... this is Nancy Bender (Carol and Sonny's daughter-in-law). Kevin found your blog and shared it with me. Going to add you to my list of blogs to follow on Google Reader. One of these days I might try rug hooking.


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