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shewhomust

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I'm dreaming of a green New England... [Feb. 11th, 2015|12:54 pm]
shewhomust
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For the benefit of my friends in Massachussetts who write wistfully, when I post about the green fields of Shildon, that they have "forgotten what grass looks like" - and because nineweaving recommended we visit Mount Auburn Cemetery, and because weegoddess (and J) took us there, and walked round with us in the lush late summer green (and maybe regretted just a little bit that we were too early for the fall colours)...

Mount Auburn is a beautiful and historic garden, a public leisure amenity; it is also a cemetery still open for business. The cemetery website tries to balance these two aspects, and strikes a discord which I found oddly endearing: it is "beautiful, timeless and still available." It's also selling itself short, because once you have declared yourself to be timeless, you can't really boast about how innovative you were, in your day. But it's a wonderful place to wander round.



This temple to Mary Baker Eddy has to be the cemetery's most impressive memorial, for its size, its stunning location and because it reminds me of one of my favourite books, Mistress Masham's Repose. I don't count the tower, because it isn't a memorial exactly, but it's worth the climb to the top for the panoramic view, the city beyond a sea of green (so many wonderful trees, and so helpfully labelled, too), and the sense of achievement. It's also where we got the closest look at one of the many hawks that kept buzzing us on our walk:



Not the greatest picture, but the best I could do (probably one of these).

The graves which lodge in my memory aren't the impressive, public statements but the small, almost anonymous ones, these two tiny (each about the size of a shoebox) and much eroded sculptures:



I was nonplussed by the family groups in which graves are identified only as 'Mother' or 'Father', and deeply ambivalent about:



No doubt the inscription is intended as a dignified statement of loss and grief, but it sounds to me like children squabbling over their toys: 'MY wife and child! MINE!'

All this is under the snow right now; but it's still there, waiting for spring.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sartorias
2015-02-11 01:58 pm (UTC)
That top one is stunning!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-02-11 02:54 pm (UTC)
Next time you visit Boston, maybe?
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[User Picture]From: sartorias
2015-02-11 03:01 pm (UTC)
GREAT idea!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-02-11 02:57 pm (UTC)
Then my work here is done.

(Yes, you posted about going back, and I enjoyed that post. I felt bad that you'd reported on your return visit before I managed to write about our first, but now I think it was waiting for the right moment.)
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[User Picture]From: nineweaving
2015-02-11 03:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Mount Auburn is stunningly beautiful in spring as well. I keep hoping that Lilliput lives on in that temple.

Nine
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-02-11 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thank *you* for suggesting the visit.
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[User Picture]From: cmcmck
2015-02-11 04:52 pm (UTC)
I see what you mean about the nameless memorials.

Odd and slightly worrying..........
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-02-11 05:37 pm (UTC)
No doubt there's a perfectly good reason for it - or at least something in local custom that makes it less odd. But I can't think what that might be...
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[User Picture]From: cmcmck
2015-02-11 05:39 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's having personal experience of 'depersoning' that gives it a certain frisson?
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[User Picture]From: fauxklore
2015-02-11 09:25 pm (UTC)
You really ought to read Jane Langton's book, The Escher Twist, which captures Mount Auburn Cemetery splendidly. It's one of my favorite places to wander around, not that I'm in Boston nearly often enough to enjoy it.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-02-12 12:45 pm (UTC)
Looks interesting - I love the cover. She doesn't seem to be published in the UK...
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