Halloween Week. What better time for a walk through a local cemetery! Truth be told, Carol and I seek out cemeteries for walking. I recommend it, in any season. Part Nature walk, part history, part meditation on Life, Death and other subjects we have deep feelings about but don’t often have the words to describe.
Today we circled through Riverside Cemetery in Asheville. Birds, squirrels and groundhogs going about their lives. Majestic trees shedding multi-color leaves, stretching toward the warm sun, sending roots deep into. . .well, we don’t want to think about that, do we? As Whitman said, we are compost. In the end. . .wonderful compost.
Famous among the dead: Thomas Wolfe, O. Henry and Zebulun Vance, a Confederate general and former governor of NC. Names, dates, interesting shapes and inscriptions. One born at the time of the American Revolution; one who died this month. Want to know how people view the “afterlife”. . .read tombstones. Lots of angels, crosses, stars of David, Masonic symbols, gold stars for service members, and scattered flowers.
We even found the gravestone for the Jewish couple who used to own the house we live in (there are still mezuzah–blessing markers– at the doorways). Other names of families our streets are named for.
I’m always amazed by the abundant life in cemeteries. They are like parks with great beauty and endless (irony there) interesting things to learn. And, as we often comment to each other with amusement, many graveyards have some of the best views in the area!