Yesterday we drove into the city for our annual Samhain visit to Lone Fir Cemetery. As always it was an afternoon well spent in contemplation within stillness and beauty. It’s a peaceful soul sanctuary with rustlings and stirrings within the trees and energy amongst the ground. It’s a special, sacred place listed on the National Register for Historic Places and has been recognized as one of the top 10 cemeteries in the world. The first burial was in 1846 and the beautiful grounds holds 25,000 burials spread over more than 30 acres.
Sometimes when I am alone in the city I will stop and wander along the walking paths, occasionally passing someone walking their dog and exchange a smile or polite hello. But sometimes I encounter no one at all. No matter what time of year, it is exquisitely beautiful and yesterday was no exception. In fact we arrived at the perfect time of day on a late autumn afternoon. The mist gathered as my children tip-toed delicately through the rows of headstones and quietly meandered through mounds of leaves beneath giant trees. From time to time they would pause and bend down to gently clear fallen autumn leaves and branches from grave markers.
While looking at the different graves we discovered many dating back to the mid 1800’s and early 1900’s and pondered what it must have been like back in that time. It was an opportunity to deeply reflect on what dying really means to us and was a thought provoking reminder of the Circle of Life and its place and purpose in all things. Each year that passes the more inquisitive their minds grow as they become more and more aware of a world that exists outside themselves.
And that is a beautiful thing.
As our sojourn came to a close we each chose a grave to leave a flower next to. I thought their choices were particularly interesting this time. My daughter kept gravitating towards a WWII veteran and my son kept circling back to a little row dotted with the graves of four children whose deaths were from 1901-1903. I suspect influenza although not certain because the pandemic wouldn’t officially begin for at least another decade. However, during our visit we found more than a few infant/child/adult markers within the same time frame clustered with their own families. This particular area was a family plot with the parents resting next to their children. On their headstones was engraved that they had finally joined their beloved children, although it would be decades later.
We stayed until the sun left nothing but a faint pink glow on the horizon, blanketing the atmosphere with a serenity that was hard to leave. My children begged to stay but I sternly told them that I wasn’t ready to leave them behind in a cemetery.
What about you? Do you find beauty and comfort within cemeteries? How would you describe your beliefs in birth, death, and rebirth?
Many Blessings on your Journey )O(
Not able to visit a cemetery? Take a virtual tour and even leave remembrances with virtual flowers. You can search for the graves of friends, family, or even famous people at this free resource called Find A Grave. They have millions of names in their database- http://www.findagrave.com/