|I'm dreaming of a green New England...
||[Feb. 11th, 2015|12:54 pm]
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.