Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Walking Among The Dead...

While I was north of home visiting with relatives and taking care of some personal business, my aunt and uncle were kind enough to take me to a couple of the cemeteries in Nashville. Since moving to Savannah, I have developed a new interest. A visit to the Bonaventure Cemetery breathed life (as it were) into a recently found (a year or so old) hobby of taking photographs in cemeteries. The older, the better. There is a peaceful energy that exists in cemeteries that can't be found anywhere else. There is also a beauty. Never have I felt 'alone' while taking pictures on hallowed ground. I'm always respectful, and have only felt a tad disquieted once. (It happened at the Bonaventure. I don't think there was any malevolence present. My 'feeling' at the time was that the people buried within the mausoleum just didn't want to be bothered by strangers. Needless to say, I went on my merry way. Quickly.)

The first cemetery we visited was the Calvary Catholic Cemetery. There were many statues. Most were angels. I hopped out of my uncle's truck here and there when I saw a good photo. There were several times I got out and wandered a bit, perusing the various stones/statues. My aunt and uncle preferred the air conditioned truck, and would follow along the cemetery road(s) when necessary. On one of the stops I snapped the above photo. There were several of the marble etched stones in the same general area. Not only was the stone a unique shade, the etchings weren't like anything I had seen before. They looked fairly recent (Calvary is a 'working' cemetery). As I was snapping the above picture, a young guy approached and asked me what I was doing. The brightly colored flowers flanking the stone looked newly placed...he had apparently put them there. It was Easter weekend. Then right after him another older gentleman approached, asking me if I had taken a picture of the grave. I got a little nervous. The last thing I ever want to do is make someone feel I am being disrespectful by taking a picture of their loved one's grave. People do photograph graves all the time. I told him that I thought the stone was beautiful, and that I had never seen anything like it. The older gentleman seemed to brighten up a bit and explained that the grave was his mother's. Before she died, she hired an artist to design the various characters on the headstones. Kind of an early preparation for when she passed. He then said I was welcome to take all the pictures I wanted. We shook hands and I went on my way. Unintentional disrespect averted.

The above slide show is of some of the photos I took at the Calvary Cemetery. To watch the slide show with the accompanying music, just scroll down to the bottom of my blog page and click the 'Pause' button on the player.

The second cemetery we visited was right next to the Calvary. A bit older, Mount Olivet holds many burials from the Civil War era. My aunt has family buried there (it's also still a working cemetery), and had told me on a number of occasions that I should check it out if I liked old cemeteries. Olivet definitely did not disappoint.

The weathering of age was everywhere. Far more ornate than the stones and statues of the Calvary, I saw a lot of unique headstones and structures. Took a lot of pictures. When I got around to the pyramid shaped tomb, I encountered a couple of young gals setting up to take panoramic photos. More people taking pictures for much the same reason as me...because we enjoy it. In our short conversation as I passed, I mentioned that I was visiting from Georgia. One of the girls asked me what part. When I said Savannah, she started chattering away. She had lived in Savannah for three years, and loved it. Then she proceeded to list a few of her old haunts that I would have to check out. It didn't get mentioned, but I'm rather certain her time spent in Savannah was as a student at SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design ~ it's quite reputable).

I wouldn't mind revisiting Olivet at some point in the future. There is a little more to see. I still have a cemetery or two here in Savannah to visit. One I just happened to see out of the corner of my eye on the way home from a dental visit. It was at the end of a short side road, and the arched sign at the entrance looked old. A thick forest of trees covers it. Me thinks it might be a bit eerie back in there...cool. Hopefully there won't be any 'No Trespassing' signs. I do love my hobby, but I have an aversion to buck-shot...more to come...